SAYREVILLE, New Jersey (WABC) -- There's a new effort underway in New Jersey to limit the prevalence of smoke shops, especially in areas near schools.
Lawmakers are clearing the smoke out of Sayreville. They passed an ordinance banning smoke and vape shops from opening in the borough, and those that already exist will be required to have a license.
"Why take that away from other people who might have been planning to expand their businesses," one resident said.
The ordinance is not a huge concern for the co-owners of the Smoke Factory and Exotic Snacks.
"You have 10 to 20 smoke shops popping up in the area, nobody is going to make money and it's not good for business," said Hussein Mohamad of Smoke Factory and Exotic Snacks.
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But Mohamad says as a long-time resident of Sayreville, he feels the borough is overlooking a bigger problem.
"There's already a handful of smoke shops, there's probably double in convenience stores and gas stations which aren't being monitored as a smoke shop is and that's where more minors are going to get their product," he said.
Sayreville Police have confirmed the department cited at least one gas station for selling e-products to minors.
It's an issue that high school principal Dale Rubino says will take a village to solve.
"Students want to leave class more often to go and vape and that's what we are seeing a lot of," said Rubino, principal of Sayreville War Memorial High School.
The school district has been trying to reduce the use of electronic smoking devices among students by installing vape detectors in bathrooms.
"We are also educating our students through assemblies, we just had a vape night for parents," Rubino said.
It's a concern that health advocates are faced with across the state.
The CDC reported about 27% of youth in New Jersey used some kind of vapor product in 2019.
"It is increasing, and we are doing the best job we possibly can to combat that," Rubino said.
The ordinance does not include grocery or convenience stores that sell tobacco products.
Existing smoke and vape shops have 60 days from Monday to secure a license.
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