Officials Squeeze Vaping Industry With Ban On Shops Near City Parks
The right of vape shop owners to open new businesses is being restricted by officials in Canada who are banning the stores from opening near parks and schools.
The city council in Squamish, British Columbia, voted Tuesday to update bylaws to treat vaping the same way as combustible tobacco, largely over fears that the devices are introducing children and teens to smoking. The new rule bans vapor stores from opening within 300 meters of any schools, public parks and youth recreation centers, reports The Squamish Chief.
A vape shop caused a public stir in the community after it opened near Howe Sound Secondary school, much to the ire of parents and teachers. While the new bylaw restricts where future shops can open in the community, it does not retroactively apply to vape shops already in operation.
The owner of the vape shop near Howe Sound Secondary says fears over his store are unfounded, noting that they enforce strict age restrictions on all sales.
“We’ve had them in here trying, but I think they’ve got the idea now,” Andrew Betteridge, owner of Van Mist Vapour, told The Squamish Chief. “Every single one of them that came in left disappointed. We’re not here to get kids started on smoking, we’re here to get people who smoke long-term off smoking.”
A popular narrative pushed in the media to cast doubt on electronic cigarettes is that they serve as a gateway to traditional cigarettes. Despite declines in both the youth and adult smoking rates in the U.S. and the U.K. and studies disproving the gateway theory, health officials continue to argue that the devices risk hooking a new generation on tobacco.
Researchers focused on harm reduction say continued efforts to misrepresent the health impacts of vaping risks undoing the progress made on improving public health and reducing smoking rates across all age groups.
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