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Cedar City Council approves new regulations for tobacco, vape shops

Cedar City Council approves new regulations for tobacco, vape shopsThe Cedar City Council voted to place additional regulations on local shops selling tobacco and vape products during Wednesday’s meeting.

The ordinance, which was unanimously approved, is intended to “change the way the City defines which businesses are retail tobacco specialty businesses,” Cedar City Manager Paul Bittmenn wrote in the decision papers.

Kylaas Flanagan, health educator with the Southwest Utah Public Health Department, said the Iron County Prevention Coalition, which spearheaded the efforts, created the new ordinance based off regulations West Jordan and Tooele City already have in place.

“Hopefully it will make it more difficult for new tobacco and vape stores to move into the area,” he said.

Under the new ordinance, any business with the words ‘tobacco’ or ‘vapor’ in the business name or any advertisements would automatically be classified as a retail tobacco specialty store.

Any store dedicating 40 percent or more of the total floor and shelf space would also receive the designation according to the ordinance.

Additional changes also include stricter checks to ensure that any store carrying tobacco and vape products is not exceeding the state limits that would require them to be classified as a retail tobacco specialty store. Business owners will now have to submit two quarterly gross receipts for at least two consecutive calendar quarters in order to prove that the sale of any tobacco products, including e-cigarettes or any items used for vaping, account for less than 35 percent of the total sales.

Any store exceeding that amount would then qualify as a retail tobacco specialty store.  Business that do not meet the requirements under the new ordinance would be denied a business license, Cedar City Mayor Maile Wilson said during the Oct. 5 City Council Meeting.

New stores attempting to move into the area will also face additional limitations on potential locations to open their business. Any specialty shop would be required to be more than 1,000 feet away from any schools, daycare facilities, trade schools, churches, public libraries, playgrounds, parks, youth center, arcades, recreational facilities or “any other spaces primarily for youth oriented activities” in addition to 600 feet away from any residential areas.

The approval of the new ordinance will bring much needed changes to many local smoke shops that haven’t been operating in accordance with the previous regulations, GoVapors owner Layne Sorden said.

“It’ll make them play by the rules like the rest of us have always had to,” Sorden said. “I think it’s a good thing that will help both local business owners and the community.”

He added that it could also cut down on the amount of stores that have been selling the products “under the table.”

This was the second step in Iron County Prevention Coalitions efforts to compact a rapidly growing number of smoke shops within the county.

There are currently 42 stores Iron County that sell e-cigarettes. More than 30 of these shops are located in Cedar City.

In March, the Council approved a six-month moratorium on the issuing of business licenses for tobacco specialty retail businesses within city limits in response to the high amount.

The City Council meets at 5:30 p.m. every Wednesday at City Hall, 10 N. Main St.

Source: http://www.thespectrum.com/story/news/local/cedar-city/2016/10/12/council-approves-new-regulations-tobacco-vape-shops/91949288/

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