EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ - Following weeks of consideration and debate, the East Brunswick Council voted to add "Retail Electronic Smoking Device Establishments" to the list of businesses which require licenses in the township.
Before tabling the discussion of regulating the vape shops in town at the Council meeting on August 22, the Council placed a notice in local papers that described the change of ordinance. After last night's vote, stores selling " electronic smoking devices" and "products designed for inhalation" will be taxed initially $250 for the first year and $75 for each year thereafter.
Several vape venues have opened along Route 18 recently, and their location in East Brunswick has caused concern for some citizens and Council members. The ordinance to tax these locations could be seen as a first step toward increased monitoring. In an interview, Councilwoman Denise Contrino said, "I'm glad that it passed. We need to keep a close eye on these places in the best interest of our youth. They are not monitored closely enough and I'm concerned that minors have very easy access to them."
The vape shop boom comes at a time when the sale of tobacco products has disappeared from some stores, most notably CVS which recently opened a second East Brunswick location on Route 18 North. However, according to Forbes magazine, Wal-Mart and Walgreens remain the nation's largest suppliers of cigarettes.