By Tom Tolen /

Amid concerns nationally and locally about the health effects of vaping, such a shop has just opened in downtown Brighton.

The co-owner of Vape City, located on West Grand River across from the Dairy Queen, says that the business, an e-cigarette purveyor, opened on Tuesday. Before it was converted into a vape shop, the building was the home of a local pharmacy. In addition to e-cigarettes, the store offers such products as rolling papers, tobacco, cigars, vape juice, batteries, disposables, vaporizers and glass pipes.

Co-owner Adwan Abed tells WHMI that the only approval needed from the city, since the building had previously been a retail drug store, was for “change of use”. He says the zoning was already in place for the establishment. Brighton Community Development Director Mike Caruso says a “certificate of occupancy” — the last step required before a business can open in a community — has been approved.

Until recently, Abed had a vape shop on Maynard Street in Ann Arbor, but it was destroyed by fire, along with an adjacent restaurant, where the fire broke out. However, Abed says he has another Vape City business on Washtenaw Ave. in Ypsilanti.

The Brighton Board of Education, which has long been concerned about the health effects of vaping by students due to its high nicotine content, is considering installation of vape detectors in high school bathrooms. Board Treasurer John Conely said at the Feb. 13th meeting that students have been caught vaping in high school bathrooms and he urged that detectors be installed. Board President Roger Myers responded that an item was being prepared for possible action at the next meeting to authorize purchase of the detectors.

Under Michigan law, no one can sell vaping products to those under 21 years of age. While Abed says his employees will not ask everyone who walks in to prove they are over 21, in his words, “If they look young, we’ll ask them for their ID.” Michigan was the first state in the nation to ban flavored vaping products containing nicotine, and Abed says he is complying fully with the law. He says, again quoting, “I’m sure they know better than us, (and) we’ll follow the rules.”

The exterior of the shop has been painted a bright pink color, although some describe it as a “light purple”, and as such has been the subject of discussion in local social media. Abed says he was surprised at how bright the color came out, and they might change it to a darker color when warmer weather comes.

Abed says he and his brother, Sam, who is the co-owner, chose Brighton to open the store for no other reason than they felt there was a void and a demand for the product locally.

WHMI sought comment on the opening of the vape shop from Brighton Area Schools Superintendent Matthew Outlaw but did not receive a response by our deadline.