Lawmakers in a New Jersey town are amending local zoning laws to ban any shops selling vapor products from opening in their community.
The Livingston Township Council voted unanimously Monday to approve a first reading of an ordinance that will ban any vape shops from opening within the town’s business districts. Members of the community said they became concerned about vape shops creating a “health hazard” after a shop called Good Guy Vapes opened near the Livingston Town Center, reported Tap Into Livingston.
The ordinance changes local zoning laws in Livingston to prohibit any establishment whose “principal business” is selling vapor products. (RELATED: Study Finds Vaping Supports ‘Long-Term Smoking Abstinence’)
“There are a lot of studies that show medically that people who vape are much more likely to smoke cigarettes, so vaping really is an important health hazard,” said council member Shawn Klein, according to Tap Into Livingston.
The “gateway” theory on vaping was previously debunked in a collaborative study by researchers at the University of Stirling and Public Health England; however, tobacco control zealots continue to push the notion that vaping is hooking a new generation on tobacco.
An array of potential restrictions and taxes are currently threatening vapers in New Jersey. Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy is advocating a 75-percent wholesale tax on all vaping products in his recent budget proposal, along with an increase of the wholesale tobacco tax from 30 to 68 percent.
“Whether they make it 75 percent or 40 percent or 30 percent, all it does is show they’d rather steal money than have people quit smoking,” Mike Moran, who opened a small business vape shop after using the products to quit smoking, recently told NJ.com. “And to me, that’s just insanity.”
Critics argue the taxes will force small businesses to close across the state, limiting access to harm reduction technologies for smokers. Vape advocates also fear the tax will threaten gains made in reducing the adult smoking rate, pushing users back to deadly combustible cigarettes.
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