Alarmist Push To Restrict Vape Shop Risks ‘Zoning It Out Of The Community’

Steve Birr | Vice Reporter

Officials in a New York town are pushing for onerous restrictions on vape shops that risk zoning stores “out of the community.”

Residents in New Castle want to ban vape shops within a certain distance of schools, playgrounds, parks and places of worship. The proposal also calls for banning the stores in residential areas and mandating that vape shops cannot be located within 500 feet of one another, reports lohud.

Officials say they are concerned with the influx of vape shops into towns in Westchester County, fearing the devices will hook their kids on nicotine and serve as a potential gateway to smoking. The New Castle Town Board is debating how far the shops should be placed from the designated locations, with proposal ranging as high as 1,000 feet.

“You’ve got to make sure you’re not zoning it out of the community,” Nicholas Ward-Willis, the New Castle attorney, told lohud.

Democratic officials in New York are up in arms over the growing mainstream popularity of vaping, pushing alarmist talking points on the alleged threat the devices pose to teens and children. Democratic Rep. Nita Lowey hosted a roundtable discussion for residents in Westchester and Rockland counties Aug. 2 in response to the imminent opening of a vape shop in Pleasantville, which neighbors New Castle.

The store, called The Glass Room, will be situated near a tutoring center and the local Girl Scouts and is roughly an eight-minute walk from the high school.

“There is really an epidemic level of e-cigarettes being used in the community,” Lowey said at the meeting, according to lohud. “I was really shocked to see how common this is — be it in school, near school, after school.”

While e-cigarette use briefly jumped when the products first became popular in 2011, trends suggest the novelty of vaping for teens is wearing off.

A survey from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released June 15 revealed after a rapid increase in youth vaping between 2011 and 2015, teens are now giving up the habit. The number of middle school and high school students who use a vaping device dropped from 3 million to 2.2 million in 2016.

The New Castle Town Board will debate the issue further at their next meeting Sept. 6.

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