On the heels of today’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) proposed rules for electronic cigarettes, also known as e-cigarettes, 46 states have already proposed or enacted legislation related to e-cigarettes, according to data found on WestlawNext, the leading online legal research service.

Of those states, at least 20 have proposed or enacted legislation that includes e-cigarettes in the state’s existing smoking bans or otherwise prohibits the use of e-cigarettes in public areas, workplaces and schools, with a few exceptions in varying states.

State lawmakers also have been proactively pursuing legislation that would limit the accessibility of e-cigarettes to minors – 41 states have proposed or enacted legislation that would prohibit sale to, or possession of, e-cigarettes by minors.

E-cigarettes use a battery-powered device to heat liquid – which often contains nicotine and can include flavor additives – creating a vapor that is then inhaled. The devices have grown in popularity in recent years as an alternative to traditional tobacco cigarettes.

Additional findings of note through WestlawNext include:

  • New Jersey has proposed legislation that would urge the federal government to regulate e-cigarettes.
  • Illinois has proposed legislation that would enact safety standards for packaging of e-cigarettes.
  • Wisconsin currently has an indoor smoking ban in place, but has introduced bills – none have passed, however – that would specifically exclude “holding, or inhaling or exhaling vapor or a vaporized solution from, an electronic device that does not contain tobacco” from the definition of “smoking.”
  • Maine, Montana, Nevada and Texas do not have any e-cigarette legislation enacted or proposed at this time.

While many states have been proactive in regulating e-cigarettes, Americans are divided on whether e-cigarettes should be subject to the same regulations as tobacco cigarettes.

According to a survey conducted by FindLaw.com, the most popular legal information website, 43 percent of Americans say that e-cigarettes should be subject to the same regulations as tobacco cigarettes, while only 27 percent oppose the move. However, among people who have tried e-cigarettes, a majority – 55 percent – say that they should not be subject to the same regulations as tobacco cigarettes.

Among the additional survey findings:

  • Only 15 percent of American adults say they have tried e-cigarettes.
  • One-third of people between the ages of 25 and 34 have tried an e-cigarette.
  • The majority of people who have tried e-cigarettes only did so once. Only one out of every five people who have ever tried an e-cigarette now use it more than once a month.

WestlawNext data was researched and compiled through April 23, 2014. The FindLaw survey was conducted using a demographically balanced survey of 1,000 American adults and has a margin of error of plus-or-minus 3 percent.