Smoking has long been banned inside public places. But with the emergence and surging popularity of electronic cigarettes, local public health officials are fielding a common question among business owners: What about vaping?Electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes, are battery-operated devices that vaporize liquid nicotine, which is then inhaled by the user. The act of using the devices has been coined “vaping.”Theresa Cross, a health educator for Clark County Public Health’s chronic disease prevention program, receives a few calls each month from employers, employees and the public asking about the legality of using e-cigarettes inside private businesses.“The state smoking ban doesn’t cover these devices,” Cross said of e-cigarettes.In December 2005, the Smoking in Public Places law (formerly the Washington Clean Indoor Air Act) went into effect, making it illegal to smoke in all indoor public places and workplaces in Washington. That was before electronic cigarettes appeared on the market. The current state law does not prohibit e-cigarettes or vaping.King and Grant counties have modified their local ordinances to prohibit the use of e-cigarettes anywhere cigarette smoking is prohibited. Clark County has prohibited the sale of e-cigarettes to minors but has not placed restrictions on their use by adults.