Following congressional passage of the “vape mail” ban that will end U.S. Postal Service shipping of vaping products to consumers, UPS has joined Fedex in announcing it too will end shipping of vapes. The ban covers shipping to both consumers and businesses.
“Effective April 5, 2021, UPS will not transport vaping products to, from, or within the United States due to the increased complexity to ship those products,” a company spokesperson told Vaping360 by email. The policy, which will soon leave no major shipping service willing to deliver vaping products to homes, has left online vaping retailers scrambling to find a solution.
The announcement followed days of uncertainty, with some vaping businesses being told that their accounts would be closed, and others being reassured that the company’s tobacco and vapor product policy would not change. (The UPS website has still not amended the policy.)
Fedex had already confirmed that it will end vapor product shipping as of March 1. DHL, the other major shipping service, previously banned domestic retail shipments of e-cigarettes and all nicotine-containing products.
The new law, which was inserted into the federal Omnibus Spending Bill, mandates that the U.S. Postal Service create regulations within 120 days banning U.S. Mail delivery of vaping products—whether they contain nicotine or not. The bill was so broad that the wording includes all vaping products, including all cannabis, CBD, and flavor-only liquids and devices.
The Postal Service has not issued its new rules yet. 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.
In addition to banning USPS deliveries of vaping products, the “Preventing Online Sales of E-Cigarettes to Children Act” forces vape product sellers into the Prevent All Cigarette Trafficking (PACT) Act, which is part of the larger federal Jenkins Act. The PACT Act imposes a series of stringent requirements on shippers of included products:
- Register with the U.S. Attorney General/ATF
- 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]”
Sellers who do not register or don’t comply with the requirements of the PACT Act are subject to severe penalties, including prison. The PACT Act provisions of the law take effect in late March, and apply to all online sales, no matter which carrier ships them.