There are four vape stores in Maple Ridge, but there may not be more, after city council moved to place restrictions on future outlets.
The proposed prohibition on any future vape retail stores, where it is the principal use, follows a May, 2020 city staff report about the implications around vaping and health concerns, particularly for youth.
The bylaw amendment received first reading on Sept. 29, and city staff will do consultation before the matter moves to second reading, a public hearing and then third and final readings.
Coun. Judy Dueck said vape stores are also facing stricter regulations about how they present their products, and what is in their products.
The city report noted there are four outlets in the town centre – Haney Vape Supply, Maria’s Vapor Emporium, Vapor Guru and Vape Street – and all appear to offer flavours that would be attractive to youth.
Those four existing stores would be grandfathered into the new prohibition, but if they close, they may not be replaced, she said.
Dueck said the goal of Fraser Health’s initiative is to prevent people from starting to vape.
The veteran councillor, who is in her fifth term at city hall, said it is rare for council to ban a business. They have created a special zone for businesses in the past, such as sex shops, in the past. However, the city must provide an opportunity for vaping because it is a legal product, she said.
She noted some users consider it a healthier alternative to smoking.
“It’s not up to me to make that determination. I’m not a physician. But I do appreciate you can have too many stores of one kind.”
Vaping devices are generally considered to have fewer health impacts than cigarette smoking, noted the staff report. “Due to the recent introduction of these devices, however, their long-term health impacts are not yet fully understood.”
The report noted cigarette use has been in decline since 2015 in Canada and internationally, but vaping “threatens to undermine these improved public health outcomes.” Staff referenced concerns by The Heart and Stroke Foundation, health authorities and the Union of BC Municipalities.
“A serious concern is the rapidly increasing use of these devices among youth and previous non-smokers. For this reason, recent initiatives made at federal and provincial levels seek to deter non-smokers who are at risk of starting to use these devices.”
Coun. Ryan Svendsen said local schools are concerned students can use vape products discretely, and consume high levels of nicotine. Vaping products cannot legally be sold to anyone under 19 in B.C.
“This is about making it less visible for kids, as far as we do know the health risks,” he said.