As part of the “Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021,” in the most recent COVID-19 relief bill signed into law on December 27, 2020, Congress amended the Prevent All Cigarette Trafficking (“PACT”) Act of 2009 to apply to e-cigarettes and all vaping products. While the bill only covers the USPS, the passage of PACT triggered all major U.S. shipping providers to jump on board with banning vape products.
Which Shipping Carriers are Banning Vaping Products
Here is the breakdown of all the shipping carriers: USPS has not yet published any clarifying regulations in this regard, but companies should anticipate the mail ban going into effect on or about April 27, 2021; UPS will ban all vaping products on April 5; FedEx stopped shipping vapor products on March 1; and DHL already banned the shipment of vapor products.
According to the UPS website, vaping products that will be banned include any and all noncombustible liquid or gel, regardless of the presence of nicotine, capable of being used with or for the consumption of nicotine. All related vape devices, products, and accessories are included in the prohibition. FedEx prohibits any and all tobacco products, including cigarettes, cigars, loose tobacco, smokeless tobacco, hookah or shisha, vaporizers, and e-cigarettes. DHL has simply restricted the shipment of cigarettes to individual consumers.
More Rules and Regulations
The “Preventing Online Sales of E-Cigarettes to Children Act” does much more than ending vape mail. According to Vaping360, the new law will force shippers of nicotine and cannabis vaping products to comply with the Prevent All Cigarette Trafficking (PACT) Act, which imposes stringent rules on online sellers. (The PACT Act is part of the larger federal Jenkins Act.) Online retailers will be required to:
- Register with the U.S. Attorney General
- Verify age of customers using a commercially available database
- Use private shipping services that collect an adult signature at the point of delivery
- If selling in states that tax vaping products, sellers must register with the federal government and with the tobacco tax administrators of the states
- Collect all applicable local and state taxes, and affix any required tax stamps to the products sold
- Send each taxing state’s tax administrator a list of all transactions with customers in their state, including the names and addresses of each customer sold to, and the quantities and type of each product sold
- Maintain records for five years of any “delivery interrupted because the carrier or service determines or has reason to believe that the person ordering the delivery is in violation of the [PACT Act]”
Brick-and-Mortar Retailers Can Still Benefit from USPS
This bill is poised to cripple small vaping companies that have major revenue streams in selling to online shoppers, but brick-and-mortar storefronts may be able to benefit from this ban, since they will still be able to get vape supplies shipped to them from certain carriers. Existing USPS regulations allow manufacturers and distributors to ship cigarettes and smokeless tobacco to each other, but not directly to customers. If those rules carry over to vaping products, vape shops will still be able to receive products, but individual customers will be unable to receive deliveries at home. The vaping ban from UPS and FedEx covers shipping to both consumers and businesses.