AUGUSTA – A Maine legislative panel is divided over the extent to which the state should restrict the use of electronic cigarettes in public places.

The Health and Human Services Committee voted 6-6 along party lines Friday on Democratic House Leader Jeff McCabe’s bill, which would ban the use of e-cigarettes in public places where cigarettes are currently prohibited – like restaurants, playgrounds and beaches.

One Democratic lawmaker who was not present during Friday’s hearing can still cast his vote.

Republicans who oppose McCabe’s bill are backing an amended version that would only ban e-cigarettes in day care centers, schools and hospitals.

The measure will now be considered by the full House, which is controlled by Democrats.

The city of Portland recently approved a similar measure.