LILBURN, Ga. — Lilburn City Council is saying no to businesses looking to open shops that solely sell vape pens and accessories.
"What you tend to see is the congregation of teenagers hanging out at these stand-alone shops," Lilburn City Manager Bill Johnsa said.
Johnsa says although they have not seen it directly impact Lilburn, they are jumping ahead of what could be a problem.
Lilburn's new ordinance does not entirely move vape products out of town. But, businesses that are looking to sale vape products can only use 25 percent of its space for that purpose.
"If anything, they need to shut down the Dollar General, Family Dollar, they need to shut down Walgreens," David Higgabotham owner of Higgy Cigs said.
Higgabotham says his business manufacturers vape products and he is the president of the Georgia Smoke-free Association.
"Vape shops aren't the problem, we are against selling to minors," Higgabotham said.
He believes the reason why more cities are approving ordinances such as this one is that vape shops often get confused with smoke shops that sell vape as well.
"This ordinance is attacking shops that don't sell real tobacco products," Higgabotham said.
Higgabotham says the only link their products have to tobacco is nicotine.
Johnsa says that's not the case; he says that unlike big box stores sole vape shops don't monitor in the same way.
"We don't have any specific cases, but we suspect that's the case and we want to minimize that," Johnsa said.
He also mentioned that if a teen tries to purchase vapes at a big box store, the city is alerted.
According to Johnsa, Lilburn has had inquiries from people looking to set up vape shops in the area. He says as long as they follow the new ordinance, he is okay with them setting up shop.
For the vape shops that already exist in Lilburn, they are safe as long as they don't shut down or change ownership.
Higgabotham says that he has fought down ordinances such as this one in cities like Alpharetta. Even though he was not aware of the ordinance, he plans to reach out to the City of Lilburn this week.
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