Is lighting up electronically OK?

If you smoke an electronic cigarette in a public place where there is a smoking ban, are you in violation of the ban? Thatâ??s what many of you wanted to know in Tuesdayâ??s â??Facebook Story of the Dayâ??.

In the city of Kirksville, Mo., the answer is no.

An electronic cigarette does not burn tobacco so it can be smoked in areas where normal smoking bans are in place like bars and restaurants. It releases a stimulated smoke which is actually water vapor that is odorless and disappears in several seconds.

According to the smoking ban ordinance, there are several components in what defines â??smokingâ??.

â??There are a number of things that need to be there in order for it to be considered smoking, it doesn't need to be all, but there has to be some of the elements,â?? said Kirksville Police Chief Jim Hughes. â??First, you have to have something that is lighted and the natural inference is it's lit with fire, not electronically lit, but it has some kind of fire or heat component to it. Second, it needs to have some sort of tobacco product in it, which this [electronic cigarette] does not have. Another item it talks about is combustible material, if it's not tobacco it needs to be combustible material and we're not talking about that. The last thing, kind of the catch all, talks about burning substance, and so I don't believe those electronic cigarettes would fall under the statute.â??

The smoking ban ordinance for the City of Kirksville went into effect in July of 2007.

Under the ordinance, smoking is prohibited in bowling alleys, banquet facilities and all city properties including parks.

Smoking is also banned within 10 feet of the windows and ventilation systems of all places included in the smoking ban.

One key to the smoking ban is that both smokers and establishment owners would be held responsible and accountable by the city. The owner has the responsibility to ask the smoker to stop. If the smoker persists, the owner is required to ask his or her to leave. If the smoker refuses, the owner is obliged to call the Kirksville Police Department. If owners do not follow through with those steps, they are accountable and could face repercussions as well.

Here is the list of fines for offenses.

1st Offense = Fine of not less than $100

2nd Offense = Fine of not less than $200

3rd Offense = Fine of not less than $500

4th Offense and up = imprisonment for not more than 90 days

You can find out more about the actual ordinance by clicking here.