ALPHARETTA, Ga. — Following in the footsteps of surrounding cities, the Alpharetta City Council was scheduled to take a final vote this week on an ordinance prohibiting vape shops within the city.

By a vote of 6-1, council members approved the proposed ordinance at its May 20 meeting.

A vape shop is defined within the ordinance as any business whose principal product line and aggregate sales — 25 percent or greater — is alternative nicotine products or vape juice, or both.  

While conceding that vaping products are readily available to virtually anyone online, proponents of the measure said at the May 20 meeting that they want the city to stand against anything that could potentially harm children.

Councilman Ben Burnett, who voted against the ordinance, said the city is opening itself up to lawsuits by instituting a full-scale ban. A more prudent approach, he argued, would be for the city to adopt zoning regulations for the shops.

The balance of the council disagreed.

Katie Reeves, Fulton County School Board member, addressed the council in favor of the ban, relating a growing number of cases where the vaping devices were being secreted into schools. The devices are so small, she said, that students can vape in class without the teacher being aware. 

“They’re losing the battle right now,” Reeves said. “They’re literally losing the battle.”

Alpharetta currently has one vape shop in operation, a business that was granted a conditional use in 2017.  

In a related matter at the May 20 meeting, the council also passed on first reading another ordinance to ban shareable, dockless, motorized mobility devices, such as scooters and bicycles. Officials said cities across the country are being plagued by these rental devices being abandoned along sidewalks and roadways with no consideration for pedestrian traffic or personal property.

Again, Burnett opposed the ordinance after failing to place a one-year expiration on the ban. 

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