New tobacco, hookah and vapor stores may not be allowed into Sugar Land city limits if a new ordinance is passed by City Council.

What’s happening?

At a March 19 meeting, Sugar Land City Council approved the first reading of an ordinance to prohibit new tobacco, hookah and vapor stores within city limits. City Council members Naushad Kermally and Jennifer Lane said they have been pushing for limitations on tobacco-related stores since October, and they were happy to see this agenda item.

“We don’t want vape stores in our city. We don’t want hookah in our city,” Kermally said. “It’s happening down the street and can continue to happen down the street in our neighboring cities, but we want to keep our citizens, our young teenagers, safe.”

If approved, existing stores will still be allowed to operate but will no longer be allowed to apply for expansions to their facilities, Senior Planner Laura Waller said.

The background

The proposed ordinance change comes after an Oct. 24 City Council workshop, where council directed staff to address tobacco retail sales and use.

Additionally, City Council voted in December to limit public locations where tobacco could be smoked.

What they’re saying

With a rising number of students using vaping and tobacco products in schools, Lane said she is proud the City Council is taking action.

“As a city, [we need to] be leaders in our region, in our area, for the state of Texas to take a stance on vape use and try to put a stop to it because it’s doing nothing but damaging our children and causing problems in public schools,” Lane said. “I’m really proud of our council and our staff for working on this and taking a ban on it, and I hope other cities will follow.”

Stay tuned

Before the ordinance is passed, a second reading will take place at the April 2 council meeting. Upon approval, the ordinance will go into effect immediately.