By Kevin Rate and Jason Lee
A temporary ban has been placed on any new Vape shops, hookah bars and cannabis dispensaries by the Lindenhurst Village board on March 1.
For the next 6 months to a year, the board wants to prevent these businesses from entering the community in favor of what they consider more family friendly ventures.
The three shops already open in Lindenhurst, including Clean Vape on Hoffman Avenue, won’t be affected by the ban.
“We’re trying to get away from the bar scene and more into the restaurant scene,” Legislator Kevin McCaffrey said. McCaffrey spoke in favor of the ban at the village meeting when the ban was approved and has been very vocal about it since. “We’re trying to bring in younger people, [families], and make it a more walkable downtown.”
One of the village’s priorities is promoting family friendly restaurants opening in the downtown area. The ban is also out of an abundance of caution concerning the risks of e-cigarettes, Deputy Mayor Michael Lavorato said.
It would not be possible to place a similar ban on existing bars in the area, McCaffrey said. Only some bars are problematic according to the Legislator, and the village does not want to ban all future bars from coming in.
“We don’t think that it’s a business that attracts a walkable family-friendly downtown atmosphere.” McCaffrey said, comparing the vape shops to adult stores, in that they should have to be a certain distance from schools.
John Lappas the co-owner of Clean Vape insists that his vape shops are family friendly and that his goal is to help smokers make a healthier choice.
In support of that statement E-cigarette researcher from Onassis Cardiac Research Center and University of Patras in Greece, Konstantinos Farsalinos M.D. said, “Among current daily users the success rate (in reducing tobacco use) is 47 percent.”
According to the Eurobarometer survey that Farsalinos is referencing, 14 percent of surveyed e-cigarette users from Europe reported they were able to stop smoking completely. 34 percent were able to reduce their tobacco intake.
“Have you ever seen any medication being tested for 20 years before being released to the market? No it never happens,” Farsalinos said responding to claims that there is not enough research on long term effects.
“We’ve never witnessed any kind of epidemic, not even case reports of a large number of a specific condition being developed in e-cigarette users,” Farsalinos said.
Regardless of what kind of influence vape shops have, Lindenhurst officials would rather it happen some place else. “There might be a place for the hookah bars and the vape shops but it’s not on Wellwood Avenue which is on Main Street.” McCaffrey said.