AUGUSTA, Maine — A Maine legislator introduced a bill Tuesday to prohibit electronic cigarettes on school grounds in the wake of new data from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration calling youth use of tobacco products an "epidemic."

Sen. Rebecca Millett (D - Cape Elizabeth) said the bill expands the definition of "tobacco products," which are already banned on school grounds statewide, to include the possession of an electronic smoking device, including but not limited to electronic cigarettes, electronic cigars, electronic hookahs or vape pens.

Senator Millett said she brought the bill forward after hearing from middle school students in South Portland about how many classmates they see using e-cigarettes.

"I'm pretty sure a lot of places have policies in place, but this actually catches up our statute to support them in that effort," said Sen. Millett.

She said she also plans to introduce a bill to prohibit flavoring tobacco statewide.

The FDA released new data Monday, showing that 3-point-6 million middle and high school students currently used e-cigarettes in 2018.

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Federal law already prohibits *selling* e-cigarettes to minors, but students can easily purchase e-cigarettes online, including the popular JUUL.

According to the non-profit "Truth Initiative" -- one JUUL pod contains 20 cigarettes worth of nicotine.

In November 2018, JUUL Labs announced its action plan to combat underage use. As part of the plan, the company stopped shipping our non-tobacco and non- menthol-based flavors (Cucumber, Creme, Mango, and Fruit) to retail stores.  

JUUL dedicates a section of its website to youth prevention, including pledging $30 million over the next three years to independent research, youth and parent education and community engagement, according to the company.