MEDFORD - The Town of Brookhaven has approved a measure restricting vape shops and hookah bars.
Town Councilwoman Jane Bonner says the law bans new indoor hookah smoking lounges and vape shops from operating within 1,000 feet of schools, playgrounds, hospitals or religious establishments. Officials say that devices such as hookahs and e-cigarettes may lead to illegal drug use.
"They're not just using them to taste cherry-flavored or other-flavored e-cigarettes," Bonner says. "They're actually manipulating the vaporizers into the ability to get high from it."
Under the new law, vape and hookah businesses must have a special permit and certificate of occupancy from the town's planning board.
Advocates for e-cigarettes and other vapor products say the devices help wean tobacco smokers off nicotine. They say the law limits access to vape stores and hookah lounges, making it more difficult for tobacco smokers to beat the habit.
The Town of Brookhaven is the first in Suffolk County to pass a law restricting such businesses.