Lilburn City Council VapeShops1.jpg

The Lilburn City Council takes up an agenda item during its meeting at City Hall Monday night. One of the actions that the council took at the meeting was the implementation of a ban on businesses devoted solely to the sale of vaping devices and affiliated products.

Vaping devices, such as e cigarettes, can be sold in Lilburn, but the city won’t allow any new businesses devoted solely to their sale to set up shop in town.

The Lilburn City Council approved a vape shop ordinance that essentially bans any new stores devoted solely to selling vaping devices. Under the new ordinance, businesses would be limited in the amount of floor space they can devote to vaping devices and the amount of revenue they make from sale of those devices.

City officials raised concerns about issues with sales of products to minors and sale of products that are now allowed under Georgia law.

“We’re trying to get away from the standalone vape shops,” City Manager Bill Johnsa said. “That’s where we’re seeing the issues and that’s where you’re seeing the issues nationwide.”

Lilburn officials had been weighing what to do about vape shops since a moratorium was put in place in April. The moratorium was established because the city had a growing number of requests to open vape shops in Lilburn — Johnsa said there were about three requests that came in during the moratorium alone.

The new rules stipulate that no business can devote more than 25% of its floor space to vaping devices and affiliated products. Businesses also cannot earn more 25% of its retail sales revenue from the sale of those devices and products.

“So if you have a standalone shop that 100 percent of it was vaping, that would not be allowed whatsoever,” Johnsa said.

That doesn’t mean Lilburn will be totally devoid of vape shops, however.

There are six existing vape shops in Lilburn, according to Johnsa, and they will be allowed to continue operation under a grandfather clause. If any of them close and later try to reopen, they would have no longer be protected by that clause and would have to follow the new ordinance, the city manager said.

But all businesses that sell vaping devices will have to comply with an affiliated ordinance change pertaining to the sale of vaping devices to children.

City Attorney Richard A. Carothers said sales of the devices and affiliated products to anyone under 18 will be forbidden and retailers will be required to check IDs to ensure they are not selling the products to minors.

Carothers also said the city tried to address the issue of synthetic vaping products that are illegal.

Lilburn police and code enforcement will be empowered to conduct compliance checks of businesses.

“The record, basically, from other jurisdictions (is) the problems that they had is that these are often places where vaping is provided to underage people, people under the age of 18, and they’re likely to be selling items that are not allowed under Georgia law or federal law,” Carothers said.

“We’re not saying you can’t sell (legal vaping) products. You just can’t have a standalone store which is exclusively devoted to that.”

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I'm a Crawford Long baby who grew up in Marietta and eventually wandered to the University of Southern Mississippi for college. Earned a BA in journalism (double minor in political science and history). Previously worked in Florida and Clayton County.

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