Mission, Kansas, is weighing new regulations for vape shops

MISSION, Kan. – The City of Mission may soon take steps to limit sales of vape products based on distance to schools.

During Wednesday’s Finance and Administration Committee meeting, city leaders began preliminary discussions on a plan aimed at reducing youth access to vaping products.

Councilman Ken Davis has asked the city council to consider amending Mission’s zoning code to set certain distance requirements for retailers who want to sell vaping or e-cigarette products.

The proposal builds on a similar code enacted by the City of Shawnee, which prohibits vape shops within 200 feet of property used or zoned for schools, colleges, churches or day care facilities.

“Any way we can reduce youth exposure to vaping products and other tobacco products, I think is a healthy thing for our community,” Davis said.

The state administers licenses to sell tobacco products. But local municipalities have the power to set zoning requirements for businesses located within the city limits.

According to city documents, there are currently nine licensed tobacco retailers in the Mission:

  • BP Gas Station, 5500 Adang Girang
  • Casey’s, 5800 Johnson Drive (This location is not yet open, but has been approved for a license to sell tobacco products).
  • CBD American Healer, 6027 Metcalf
  • Crown Liquor & Tobacco, 5044 Lamar
  • Dollar General, 5312 Martway
  • Hy-Vee (main store), 6655 Martway
  • Hy-Vee (gas station), 6645 Martway
  • Grand Likur, 5410 Adang Girang
  • Quiktrip, 4700 Lamar

City Administrator Laura Smith said that if the city moves forward with the proposal, existing tobacco retailers will likely be able to continue business as usual. If the business later closes, then subsequent attempts to take over the location will be subject to the proposed distance requirements.

“Currently our ordinances restrict smoking in any indoor location,” Smith said. “A lot of times I think part of the challenge here is that, historically with vape shops in particular, they’ve allowed kind of test-driving the product inside the store. Sometimes that can be a factor in some communities.”

In June, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) attempt to ban the sale of e-cigarettes from the US market based on corporate ties to the surge in teenage vaping habits. However, shortly after the announcement, a federal appeals court temporarily blocked ban.

A The study was released last week by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that approx 2.55 million US middle and high school students reported vaping in the past 30 days.

Councilman Ben Chociej said he supports any effort to reduce tobacco use among teenagers, but wants the council to consider how the proposed buffer zone could affect surrounding businesses.

“I know my daughter’s daycare and other daycares we’ve talked to are having trouble finding a place to find themselves, because of the distance requirements for liquor stores and things like that. I want to make sure that we don’t put an undue burden on these facilities, Chociej said.

The council took no official action Wednesday night. Moving forward, city staff will work to compile additional information and suggestions to present at the Finance and Administration Committee meeting in December.

If city leaders move forward with the proposal, the Mission Planning Commission will likely hold a public hearing on the proposed zoning change as early as 2023. Any recommendation from the planning committee or commission would require approval from the city council before implementation.

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