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Using 'family-friendly' excuse, Lindenhurst, NY wants to ban vape shops

Village officials of Lindenhurst, New York, held a public hearing yesterday to debate a possible ban on new vape shops, claiming that such establishments are not family friendly.  The proposed zoning ordinance is not the first attempt at a village-wide ban.  In July of 2016, officials issued a moratorium on the opening of new establishments, even though Lindenhurst currently has only two local vape shops in the entire town.

But the city attorney cautioned that the village might be better served by replacing the moratorium with a full-blown law preceded by a series of public hearings to allow all sides of the debate to be heard.  That process officially began yesterday, and if the ordinance comes to pass, the two local vape shops will be exempt from closing due to an included grandfather clause.  Also included in the proposed legislation would be bans on medical marijuana dispensaries and hookah lounges. 

CASAA issues call-to-action over Lindenhurst debacle

The pro-vaping group Consumer Advocates for a Smoke Free Alternatives Association (CASAA) issued a public local alert on its website just two days ago, but the proposed vape shop ban in Lindenhurst might be only the top of the proverbial iceberg.  When the city of San Francisco launched its citywide ordinance banning the sales of flavored e-liquids and menthol tobacco products last summer, copycat bills began popping up all over the west coast. 


Within weeks of the San Francisco ban, Oakland, San Leandro, Contra Costa County, and Richmond followed suit, and the trend is now spreading to the east coast.  Just this week, Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal from Manhattan, New York, also called for a citywide flavor ban.  So, the Lindenhurst proposal is an issue that the nationwide vaping community is looking at very closely.  If the ordnance passes, then similar legislation could also spread across the country, just like the flavor bans which were born in San Francisco. 

Lindenhurst Mayor says vape shops are not ‘family-friendly

The vape shop ban would not affect local convenience stores or gas stations selling e-cigs and vaping supplies.  The proposed village ordinance specifically targets 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.”  According to a statement by Lindenhurst Mayor Mike Lavorata to CBS local news, the reason behind the ban is simple – vape shops are not family-friendly.

“We want people to walk our downtown and not have to look at vape stores,” he said. “In my opinion, vape stores and hookah bars and things of this nature just don’t fit in with the downtown we’re looking to create.”
“Here we are trying to set up a workable downtown…I don’t think these are the kinds of places we want to have there. (A vape shop) just gives a less-than-family-friendly impression.”

Like most regions of the United States, Lindenhurst consumers must be 21 to purchase products from vape shops.  To many in the local community, the proposed village ordinance seems like government overreach and a waste of taxpayer money.  Lindenhurst currently has zero medical marijuana dispensaries and only two vape shops in its community.  However, the South Shore of nearby Long Island has dozens, and Lindenhurst officials are growing skittish. 


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