Bethlehem OK’s moratorium on vape shops

Measure will give town time to consider new zoning rules.

The Bethlehem Town Board voted Wednesday night to impose a six-month moratorium on permitting new vape shops while the town studies potential zoning laws that would dictate where they could be located.

Jim Foster was the sole board member to vote against the moratorium, arguing that the measure was “political showmanship” that wouldn’t solve the problem of underage tobacco use.

“It is political grandstanding at its worst,” Foster said.

However, Town Supervisor David VanLuven and other board members said the temporary ban was merely designed to give the town planning department and the board time to consider how vape businesses, as well as marijuana shops down the road, fit into the town’s zoning regulations.

“It’s not based on politics, it’s just based on judgment,” VanLuven said.

The idea for the moratorium came after an application for a building permit was submitted for a vape shop on Delaware Avenue next to Elsmere Elementary School, which raised questions about whether or not such a store should be located so close to a school.

Vaping is done with electronic cigarettes or vape devices that turn liquid nicotine into a vapor or mist that is inhaled. Critics say the liquid nicotine is marketed toward children because it often comes in candy and dessert flavors like bubblegum and cake. Sale of nicotine products to people under 21 years of age is banned in Albany County.

There is already a vape shop, Interstate Vapor, located at the Four Corners in Delmar, and the town recently granted a certificate of occupancy to a second vape shop in Glenmont.


Andrew Osborne, vice president of the New York State Vapor Association, speaks as vaping advocates and consumers rally outside Albany County Courthouse to oppose ban on flavored tobacco products on Tuesday, April 23, 2019 in Albany, N.Y. (Lori Van Buren/Times Union) Photo: Lori Van Buren, Albany Times Union / 40046752A

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