FOLLOWING in the footsteps of the City of Bayswater, the City of Swan is looking to amend its local planning scheme to re-classify businesses which sell vapes as a ‘restricted premises.’
City of Swan Mayor Tanya Richardson said the city’s current Local Planning Scheme does not differentiate businesses selling vapes, tobacco or other smoking related implements, but it is working towards a new planning scheme which could change this.
“Under the new local planning scheme, any business selling smoking implements would be classified as a ‘restricted premises’, limited to commercial areas and subject to council approval after public advertising,” she said.
Updating planning schemes to restrict stores from selling vapes, tobacco or other smoking related paraphernalia within certain parts of the council is not a new phenomenon, with the City of Bayswater updating its town planning policy to restrict the sellers in 2023.
The move comes after a study by the University of Notre Dame Australia, which was commissioned by the Cancer Council WA, found that almost 90 per cent of e-cigarette or vape stores within the state were within 1km of a school – with the study identifying that lower socio-economic areas were more likely to house the stores.
The study discounted convenience stores and supermarkets which sold vapes, and instead focused on brick-and-mortar stores selling vapes as a main source of business, alongside smoke shops and tobacconists.
Of the 194 stores the study identified, 88 per cent were located within a short walk to either a primary or high school.
Mandurah topped the study’s list, with seven operating in the suburb.
Midland was tied second with Cannington, Perth, and Rockingham, with the study identifying six shops within the suburbs.
Notre Dame research fellow Dr Matthew Tuson, the study’s lead author, said there is a lot of concern amongst the community, particularly by parents and teachers, about the current youth vaping epidemic.
“We know from overseas studies that the tobacco industry often sets up shop in disadvantaged areas where they can prey on vulnerable populations, and we found the same pattern here with vape retailers,” he said.
“Previous tobacco research has shown that the proximity of tobacco retailers to schools or homes can influence smoking behaviours, and similar relationships have been reported for e-cigarettes.”
On January 1, importing disposable vapes was banned by the federal government, with the importation of all non-therapeutic vapes to be banned from March 1.
“Subject to state or territory law, non-therapeutic vapes imported before March 1, 2024, may still be lawfully sold be retailers generally, including vape stores, provided the vape does not contain nicotine or any other medicine, and does not make therapeutic claims,” the new Therapeutic Goods Administration regulations state.