The “Preventing Online Sales of E-Cigarettes to Children Act,” or if you want to refer to its nickname, “vape mail ban”, has brought the booming vaping industry to a shuddering halt.
Dramatics aside, the ban has hit the vaping industry in the wrong way. In a world of technology and one-click purchases, we have been spoiled rotten with immediate gratification. With most businesses now moving online with their product shipment, it has become a norm to get things delivered. That is precisely what the vaping industry was thriving on until the Pact Act made an appearance, and slashed all their tires.
What is The Vape Mail Ban?
The year 2020 brought with it many unwelcomed surprises. Among those was the Pact Act. In late December, Congress passed a massive omnibus spending bill, including the federal COVID relief legislation. However, buried deep within that 5000-page document lay an unwelcomed holiday surprise for vapers and the vaping industry. The legislation is called the Prevent All Cigarette Trafficking (Pact) Act, which the vaping community has now deemed the Vape Mail Ban.
To elaborate, the ban states that the United States Postal Service (USPS) is banned from shipping virtually any vaping or vape-related product. However, this is more than just a vape juice ban, per se. It affects the vaping industry on a much larger scale.
The new law will require carrier services and online sellers that ship vaping, nicotine, or cannabis products to comply with the stringent rules and regulations. These are all part of the Pact Act.
Requirements of the Vape Mail Ban:
- Register with the U.S. Attorney General, the federal government, and tobacco tax administrators.
- Taxes must be collected, and tax stamps must be added to all products sold.
- Maintain a list of transactions, including the customer’s name, address, and product they purchased.
- Verify customer’s age through a commercially accessible database.
- Collects an adult signature on delivery.
- Maintain a 5-year delivery record to ensure the packages are not violating the Pact Act.
Refusal or inability to comply with the requirements mentioned above consequents severe penalties, including up to three years in prison.
Vape Mail Ban – The Snowball Effect
USPS shipping regulations are clearly stated in the Pact Act, banning the carrier service from delivering any vape or vape-related products. The sequel to it, however, is what truly may lead to the downfall of the vaping industry. Many of the major shipping companies were put under pressure by anti-vape activists and feared dabbling in banned activities.
Following carrier services have also followed the vaping ban and have either stopped shipping or announced to stop in due time.
- UPS – Announced they would be banning all vaping and vape-related deliveries from April 5th.
- FedEx – They stopped shipping vaping products on March 1st.
- DHL – They have also announced their ban on vaping products will go into motion on April 5th.
A point to be noted is that this ban on vape juice is not an independent issue. It came as part of a larger bill that was too significant to fail. The meaningful results have led to a snowball effect of drawbacks and roadblocks for serious vapers and the vaping industry.
Notably, smaller vaping companies dependent on their online sales for their primary revenue streams will have difficulty getting back up from the blow of the e-cigarette ban. In comparison, the larger brick-and-mortar stores, with their alternative financial backing, will recover faster. They may even continue mailing vape cartridges and similar products and, as a result, putting them at a much higher advantage.
Not Just the Vaping Industry
Apart from the small vaping companies, now crippling under the vape mail ban‘s weight, the vapers have been left with very few options to get their nicotine or vaping fix.
It is easy to assume one can drive or walk to their nearest convenience store and grab their vaping supplies, in theory. However, in reality, considering the care and attention required for the professional and serious vapers, the ban on vape juice delivery can potentially impact the vaping community.
Vaping may have a more appealing and cooler look than a traditional cigarette. Additionally, the fun fruity flavors it is often advertised with have made it particularly popular among the younger crowd. This can also be part of the reason e-cigarette laws such as this are coming into place. However, serious vapers, perhaps those attempting to quit smoking or maintain a nicotine addiction within the limits of vape juice, will not be overly fond of the fruity appeals.
With the delivery of e-cigarettes banned, they will have to resort to the fruit-flavored chemical baths in the form of vape juice available in their nearby gas stations or unofficial vape stores. Rather than going against their preference, this e-cig ban could lead these vapers back to their original fix, a traditional cigarette.
Why Vapor Products?
Why are we suddenly asking, “Can you mail vape juice?” Also why is the vape mail ban so centered towards vaping products when many harmful addictive products are still deliverable and readily available to the masses? The masses include under-aged, impressionable youngsters.
What is commonly unknown is that there have been many attempts previously as well in banning vape products. In fact, the Pact Act was amended to include vape and vape-related products. In fact, lawmakers have been trying to fit vapor products into the vaping ban for quite a while now.
It was initially brought up in 2015 under the “Stop Tobacco Sales to Youth Act of 2015” by Rep. Rosa DeLauro. Back then, it didn’t receive a vote and died in congress. Then in 2019, another attempt was made on the vape juice ban by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, under the “Preventing Online Sales of E-Cigarettes to Children Act.” While it did pass the house, it was eventually, in legislative terms, “held on the desk.”
The question that comes to mind is, why are vaping products creating such a big stir?
Simple answer being, the sudden teen vaping epidemic in the United States has led to an outbreak of lung-related injuries. While this may seem to be the motivating force behind the many attempts to get a e liquid ban, other factors must be considered.
Vape ban revolves around the appealing flavors of vape. However, a study concluded that 30% of high school students drank alcohol. Yet, this does not garner nearly half the media backlash and legal action that vapor products do. If we delve even further into this debate, we could come up with a lengthy list of sweet alcoholic drinks that are popular among the underage crowds. And yet, the vape juice ban will remain more relevant.
Dark Times Pave Way for Black Markets
The ban on vape products incorporates a much larger market: the Hemp and CBD vape products. Many consumers opt for CBD or hemp vape juices to deal with medical conditions safely and efficiently.
CBD/Hemp is known to cause relaxation during episodes of stress or anxiety. It has also shown favorable results in children and adults who struggle with epileptic seizures. Unfortunately, many individuals trying to maintain their daily relief or medicated dosage of hemp or CBD will now struggle because of the vaping ban. Those living in remote or rural areas will especially face difficulty once the option of ordering online has been taken from them. When desperation rises, so do black markets.
Instead of their regular, reliable retailer, the Vape Mail Ban will force vapers to turn to inauthentic sources to get their fix. When vapers are deemed as nicotine addicts and vape products as tobacco encouraging, it marginalizes the important and safer aspects of the practice. Therefore, these e-cigarette laws are not only putting people’s livelihoods and businesses at risk but also pushing those desperate enough towards black market schemes. This further encourages the consumption of unreliable and ill-crafted vape products.
A World of Wary Vapers
It’s no joke that the vaping community has had a target on their back since their early days. From being deemed unsafe and tobacco driven, they have faced many limitations in production and distribution. With the latest edition of the Pact Act now in place, various companies and serious vapers have yet another roadblock to deal with. Companies are struggling financially and vapers desperate to find a reliable source of vaping goods near them, the vape ban has done more bad than good.
The negative impact on the vaping community has not been highlighted as much. When desperate times lead to desperate measures, we might end up rethinking the Vape Mail Ban altogether.