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Oakwood council approves rules for new vape shops
Oakwood City Hall.jpg

Update: Oakwood City Council gave its final, unanimous approval Monday, March 9, of vape shop regulations.

Update. Feb. 10: The Oakwood City Council gave its first OK to regulations governing future vape shops in the city.
Such shops will be allowed, but will need to follow several rules, including a requirement they must be at least 500 feet from another vape shop and at least 1,000 feet from a school, library or church.
The new rules will take effect after the final vote, which is set for March 9.

A 90-day ban has been placed on new vape shops in Oakwood so that the city can craft regulations governing them.

Oakwood City Council voted Monday, Dec. 9, to OK a resolution to not issue building permits for or license the operation of vape shops until the new rules are created.

“Due to the innovation of e-cigarettes and similar products, the city does not currently have comprehensive regulations regarding (vape shop) operations,” the resolution states.

The resolution also expresses general concerns about vaping.

Citing a national health journal, the resolution says that “there is conclusive evidence that in addition to nicotine, most (electronic smoking devices) contain and emit numerous potentially toxic substances.”

“Alternative tobacco products … directly affect the public health, safety and welfare of the residents and visitors of the city of Oakwood.”

Oakwood’s resolution follows on the heels of other, similar government actions.

Gainesville has also put a moratorium on new vape shops, approved by the Gainesville City Council on Oct. 1. It will last 120 days, or until an ordinance regulating vape shops is passed, whichever time period is shorter.

Hall County is not currently issuing business licenses for new hookah lounges or vape shops, and commissioners are set to vote Thursday on extending that moratorium until May 29, 2020.

Existing businesses are allowed to stay open during the moratorium. Unincorporated Hall has three vape shops but no hookah lounges.

Sarah McQuade, the county’s planning and development director, said the state legislature could pass a state law regulating these businesses during the next legislative session, which begins in January. 

Commissioners first approved a 90-day moratorium on business licenses for hookah lounges on May 23. On Aug. 7, commissioners voted to extend that period until Oct. 10 and added vape shops to the list of businesses that could temporarily not get a license. On Sept. 26, the moratorium was extended to Dec. 12.

The city of Lula also hasan active moratorium on vape shops.

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