JOHNS CREEK, Ga. — In a 4-0 vote, the Johns Creek Planning Commission approved a proposed ordinance that would essentially ban future vape shops in the city.
If adopted by the City Council, the ordinance would require that no more than 25 percent of the floor space in a store be used for advertising or selling e-cigarettes, also known as vapes, or related products.
Vaping paraphernalia could still be sold within city limits, but the ordinance would prevent stores exclusively devoted to vaping products. Existing vape stores would not be affected by the law so long as they maintain their business license.
The proposed ordinance is part of a trend of local governments cracking down on e-cigarettes, supposedly in response to increased vaping among teenagers.
While studies show that e-cigarettes are less harmful than traditional tobacco products, they often contain nicotine, which has been proven highly addictive. The earlier someone uses nicotine products, the more difficult it is to quit later, and the substance can have lasting damaging effects on still developing adolescent brains, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
In June, the City Council created new laws to require vendor to check the ID of anyone attempting to purchase vaping products and ensure they are at least 18 years old and to prohibit the sale, manufacture and distribution of synthetic cannabinoids, opioids and amphetamines that produce vapor or smoke.
The new laws are essentially redundant to existing state law, but they give the city more control over enforcement, Assistant City Attorney Ronald Bennett said.
Council members Chris Coughlin and Stephanie Endres voted against the measure, arguing the restrictions would likely be ineffective at stopping teens from getting their hands on vaping products and were punitive to certain businesses.
Alpharetta, Milton and Fulton and Forsyth Counties have all considered or adopted similar legislation.