- Associated Press - Sunday, October 23, 2016

WILLISTON, N.D. (AP) - A proposed ordinance in Williston would require stores selling e-cigarettes to get the same license as businesses that sell other tobacco products.

The popularity of vaping has driven a new market of e-cigarette stores in the area, the Williston Herald (https://bit.ly/2etVFCu ) reported. Businesses that currently sell tobacco products must seek a $15 state license, but stores that sell only e-cigarettes don’t face such requirements.

The proposed ordinance was read without any public comment at a Williston City Commission meeting last month. It would require vape shops to seek a city license to operate, putting them on the map for compliance checks from law enforcement. The expense wouldn’t exceed the state cost.

Mayor Howard Klug said other retailers face a $100 fine for selling to a minor, and the fines increase for each infraction within a year period.

The Upper Missouri Health District hopes Williston could be used as a model city for similar ordinances to surrounding communities like Watford City, Crosby and Stanley.

“It’s a good thing too, because they will be regulated,” said Chelsea Bryant, who oversees the Tobacco Prevention Program in Williams, McKenzie and other counties. “E-cig shops can open anywhere…This will make them register with the city.”

Bryant said the ordinance would make it difficult for those stores to sell tobacco products to minors.

Two shops within city limits said that they feel unaffected by the ordinance, but are worried Measure 4 will put them out of business. The measure proposes a 400 percent tax increase on tobacco products.


Information from: Williston Herald, https://www.willistonherald.com

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