City Looks To Stomp All Vape Shops Out Of Existence

Steve Birr | Vice Reporter

Officials in a New York town are gearing up for an all-out crackdown on electronic cigarettes with a proposal to ban vape shops from their community.

Lawmakers in Lindenhurst Village will debate the proposal during a hearing at Village Hall Tuesday, which also includes a ban on all hookah lounges and medical marijuana dispensaries in the town. The blanket ban applies to any “business operation, whether as its primary use or as an ancillary use, [that] includes the smoking or selling of vapors, e-liquids, or other substances that are smoked through an electronic cigarette,” reports Newsday.

The town currently has two vape shops, which officials say will be grandfathered in under the proposed ordinance. Mayor Mike Lavorata told Newsday, “I don’t think these are the kinds of places we want to have,” adding that vape shops in the community “just gives a less-than-family-friendly impression.”

Critics of the ordinance say it effectively kills business opportunities for what are largely family-owned establishments. They also note that the ban cuts off access to a safer product for a community that is actively using vaping devices to quit smoking.

“If they’re trying to make it a more family-friendly environment, don’t attack the businesses that are trying to do right and trying to help people, like the parents and business owners,” Tina Roy, a worker at Dapper Vapor, told Newsday. “If they’re that concerned about making things family-friendly, leave the hardworking people alone and go after the bigger problems.”

A growing body of medical evidence demonstrates that vaping is a much safer alternative to smoking. A University of California study released July 26 showed that a record number of Americans are ditching cigarettes with the aid of vaping devices. The rate of Americans quitting smoking jumped from 4.5 percent between 2010 and 2011 to 5.6 percent between 2014 and 2015.

That means that roughly 350,000 smokers gave up the habit between 2014 and 2015. According to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2.62 million former smokers have successfully transitioned to a vape.

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