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Stevens Point delays action on allowing vaping bars

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STEVENS POINT, Wis. (WSAU) -- Stevens Point officials delayed action on allowing vaping bars in the city. The proposal would have made the vapor pen and electronic cigarette businesses eligible as a conditional use in B-1 and B-3 business zoning districts. Alderman Michael O’Meara made the motion to make it a conditional use in all zoning districts. O’Meara later rescinded the motion, as several council members wanted more information and better definitions before voting on the issue.

Mayor Andrew Halverson says vaping has come along very fast, and this is the first time the city has had to deal with this issue.   “Vapor bars are a very new kind of business. They are a very new endeavor that folks are looking to embark on. Currently they are legal. The kinds of vaping that’s allowed within these establishments obviously is legal.”

Halverson believes vaping is a somewhat less dangerous practice than smoking, but like many, he has concerns about the long term effects of the process. He believes it’s not really a zoning issue, and that the council will eventually allow the vaping businesses in all zoning districts as a conditional use.

District Attorney Louis Molepske Jr. has also expressed concerns about future vaping bars in Stevens Point, pointing out how many illegal substances are easily ingested with these devices. Most any drug you can smoke or inject can also be used in vaporizing devices. Halverson says the city is considering licensing vaping bars much the same way they license taverns, so they have the means to shut down illegal activity.

City Council members voted to delay a vote on vaping bars until next month to allow the Public Protection Committee to weigh in, and to learn more about these businesses.

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