On December 21, 2020, congress passed a bill making it illegal to ship vapor products using USPS starting in April. While not ideal, shipping vapor products by mail would still be doable under private shipping companies, provided they provide signature verification for recipients over the age of 21.
Unfortunately, soon after the bill passed, all major private couriers also banned the shipment of these products. With no-one left to deliver vapor products, the vapor industry is left with a defacto vapor ban in the USA.
Federal Vapor Ban
The shipping ban on vapor products got lumped into a COVID-19 relief bill that included government funding, tax extensions, and stimulus to respond to the pandemic. At the last minute, a section related to vapor products was added to the bill. The reasons are still unknown why this was added, as it has nothing to do with COVID-19.
This legislation was specifically written to redefine the word cigarette under the PACT Act, otherwise known as “Prevent All Cigarette Trafficking Act.” Initially, the PACT Act excluded vapor products under its definition of tobacco products, but this new bill undid that.
The passage of this bill also made the shipment of ejuice without nicotine through USPS illegal and any other vapor products, whether for nicotine or not. This means that products that aren’t even used for nicotine (think CBD vape pens) are also included under the definition of “Cigarette.”
USPS No Longer Shipping Vapor Products
This option didn’t completely preclude the shipment of vapor products, just the ones made through USPS. As long as the company is registered with the federal government, tracked the ages of all customers that purchased their products, kept detailed information on shipping statutes, and got adult signature confirmation on arrival, they could continue selling vapor products online.
While they made the process cumbersome and complicated, companies would still be able to sell their products online at a substantial increase in shipping cost. After all, USPS wasn’t the only shipping company in town. UPS, FedEx, and DHL still ship across the country, and they looked like a fine (if not more expensive) alternative to USPS.
Private Companies Joining The Vapor Shipping Ban
After the bill was passed, it wasn’t too long before private companies such as UPS, FedEx, and DHL also joined. They were not mandated to by this legislation that was passed, but they did anyway. They not only opted out of delivering these products to end consumers but to brick and mortar stores as well.
We can only speculate why they joined, but the most reasonable explanation is that shipping these products carried too much liability. If UPS delivers a package to the wrong address or forgets to acquire an adult signature, they could be held criminally liable.
The fact that private shipping companies are unwilling to take on the liability of shipping vapor products puts that vapor industry into an impossible situation. Without anyone willing or able to ship vapor products, it looks like the online sale of vapor products is dead.
Vapor Industry Post Shipping Ban
It looks like the vaping industry is about to get much smaller. The only way to get vapor products from the manufacturer’s hands to the consumer will be through hand delivery to brick and mortar stores. This requires manufacturers to set up their own logistics and hire their own delivery driver to get their products where they need to go.
As long as these products aren’t being delivered to the end consumers and the vapor company has a robust enough ability to deliver these products, some vapor products will still be able to make it to a brick and mortar location.
How much the industry will shrink is anyone's guess. There could be a 3rd party only vapor shipping company to pop up in the next few months. However, this is just speculation, and it is more likely that shipping to end consumers becomes an impossible task.
We wish there were a silver lining to this blog post or some “loophole” that could be found, but unfortunately, there isn’t. As of April, it appears that the vapor industry will be more or less gone, at least online.
The vapor industry has gone through "death by a thousand cuts," and this last one got us. The federal government has been trying to end vapor for years now. It’s a shame they didn’t even have to “ban vaping” to effectively ban vaping.
“You can still vape! You just can’t get vapor products shipped to you and companies can’t ship vapor products to anyone else.”
Great… glad they didn’t “ban vaping!”