WEST BOUNTIFUL - The West Bountiful City Council has decided to table any action for or against approving an e-cigarette store in town.
Instead, they’re waiting to see what lawmakers decide on Capitol Hill in Salt Lake City.
Rep. Paul Ray, R-Clearfield, is sponsoring a bill, “Regulation of Electronic Cigarettes,” that had just started making its way through the legislative process Friday, Feb. 7.
The legislation bans sale to minors and also requires vendors to obtain a license to operate. Inspections of premises could also be conducted by the Utah State Department of Health.
Sandy Herrera, who has e-cigarette stores in Ogden, has applied for permission to operate in West Bountiful.
“The city council is really open minded, see it as something to bring tax revenue into the city,” she said.
“The biggest problem we’re having is being classified as a smoke shop,” Herrera said, adding she understands officials’ concerns when that comparison is made.
Smoke shops sell pipes, other paraphernalia.
“That’s not what we are,” she emphasized. “That’s not the kind of products I will ever sell in my store. It’s totally different but being classified as the same.”
Her store sells a non-tobacco product, comparing the operation to more of a coffee shop.
“It’s frustrating the way it is. It’s hard to be anywhere,” Herrera said of restrictions on where her type of store can locate. Restrictions of 600 feet from a residential area and 1,000 feet from some facilities, such as schools and churches, makes it difficult to find a suitable location.
“The Gateway, development near Shopko would be the only area where they could go,” said City Administrator Duane Huffman.
The planning commission previously recommended such a shop not be allowed anywhere in the city.
At a recent city council public hearing, one woman spoke of how her husband’s use of e-cigarettes helped him quit smoking regular cigarettes.
Repeated attempts to reach Rep. Ray were unsuccessful.