A controversial vape shop has been closed until further notice just over a month after it first opened after the City of Albany said the business was selling items that are prohibited for sale in the City’s regional centre zone. In a statement released on Friday, City of Albany CEO Andrew Sharpe said an assessment of the store’s stock revealed that some of its inventory failed to meet planning regulations. “The business owner cannot sell these specific items but is allowed to continue offering other unrestricted items for sale on the premises,” he said. According to the City of Albany’s Local Planning Scheme 1, the shop is located in Albany’s regional centre zone, which prohibits the use of such land for restricted premises. A restricted premises — as per the Planning and Development (Local Planning Schemes) Regulations 2015 — is one that sells, loans, delivers, or displays any of the following: In the lead-up to the grand opening, then-mayor Dennis Wellington said the shop owner would be in contravention of government planning requirements if it opened. “It doesn’t fit the zoning requirement of Albany, it must be in a light industrial or industrial area,” he said at the time. “It doesn’t fit in the area it’s currently in and so there’s some controversy between ourselves and the owner there.” When the Dog Rock Shopping Centre shop opened on September 7, the Albany Advertiser was briefly allowed inside, witnessing a wide array of bongs adorning one of the walls. At the time, Mr Sharpe said the City was working with the business owner to achieve zoning compliance. Barely six weeks later, however, a sign appeared on the shop door indicating the business was “temporarily closed until further notice”. The shop’s appearance in town sparked much debate with community members leaving hundreds of comments underneath the Albany Advertiser and ABC Great Southern’s Facebook posts on the matter. Concerned parents expressed dismay at the shop’s proximity to nearby schools, just 600m from Albany Primary School and Albany Senior High School. They fear that vape flavours, which are said to be reminiscent of lollies, combined with the bright, attractive colours of the Middleton Road store send a mixed message to children. Currently, nicotine vapes can only be purchased with a prescription, with only pharmacies able to sell vapes with nicotine in them. Nonetheless, the Alcohol and Drug Foundation reports that vaping among young people is increasing with about 14 per cent of 12 to 17-year-olds having tried an e-cigarette. Commissioner for Children and Young People Jacqueline McGowan-Jones said there has been a rise in e-cigarette use in WA over the last few years, particularly for those under the age of 18. “This has been particularly concerning for parents, teachers and schools, and young people, who are all struggling to cope with the addictive nature and problematic behaviour associated with vaping,” she said. The ADF reports that only 12 per cent of those users bought an e-cigarette themselves with the remainder getting them from friends or family. Other members of the community welcomed the store’s appearance with Dylan Cassells commenting “I’m using vapes to quit smoking” and Courtney Dizzle saying they are “helpful to smokers”. While vapes are offered by some medical professionals as a smoking cessation device, the Department of Health and Aged Care’s website says there is “insufficient evidence” to back this up and that scientists “do not consider them safe” citing “hazardous substances” and potentially “higher levels of toxicants” than conventional tobacco products. Cloud 9 Albany was approached for comment but did not respond.