New zoning rules being considered for new smoke shops, public hearing to take place tomorrow
TUCSON, Ariz. (13 News) - Tomorrow, the planning commission will hold a public hearing to spread smoke shops apart and make them further away from schools.
Over 2.5 million students reported using a smoking device just last year. According to the CDC, 14 percent of high school students and 3.3 percent of middle school students are among those reaching for a device.
The public will get the chance tomorrow to speak on the new code amendment, proposing that new smoke shops be at least 1000 feet away from other smoke shop locations and from schools.
“I think that’s a start,” said Alexis Lock. “I don’t think it will fix the problem, but it is a start.”
Lock says the number of smoke shops has increased dramatically.
“I’d say get rid of smoke shops,” she says. “I see them on every street and every corner.”
Even some smoke shop owners agree that kids should be nowhere near smoking devices.
Dante Mitchell, the manager at Fresh Smoke Shop, sees around 20 kids a day trying to get their hands on a vape or e-cigarette.
“Make it more strict,” he says. Mitchell goes even further to say children under the age of 18 should not even be allowed to step foot in a smoke shop.
Mitchell says that while the new amendment may mean better business for existing smoke shops like his, it’s not a good thing for smoke shops overall.
He says patrons in areas outside of Downtown Tucson may have to go out of their way to head to a smoke shop.
“If we’re the only smoke shop available, [and] you got people living in the south and east side, I feel like it’s going to get harder to get to the places they want to get [to], if we’re the only one available,” he said.
The public hearing will be held virtually at 6 p.m., and you can click here to join. Materials will be posted on the Planning Commission webpage approximately one week in advance. Comments on the proposal can be submitted to PlanningCommission@tucsonaz.gov. More information about the proposal can be found here.
Be sure to subscribe to the 13 News YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/@13newskold
Copyright 2023 13 News. All rights reserved.