Time and time again, we’re seeing the narrative change in a negative way in the USA regarding the vaping industry. In comparison to Europe and Asia, where e-cigarettes are hugely popular, the United States of America is imposing as much legislation and media coverage as possible to create a negative light around vaping. This now extends to shipping, in particular focusing heavily on the USPS (United States Postal Service).
Since the EVALI outbreak and the bad press JUUL received, with both hyped up by the US media to scandalise the vaping industry, the US government has clamped down on vaping use, in particular among the youth of society. The latest step – the US ban on mail shipments of vaping products to a country of more than 330 million people. What does this landmark passing in congress mean for the people of the USA? How will it affect small vaping businesses based outside of the USA that send products over there? Let’s assess the next steps once this change comes into effect.
The Omnibus Spending Bill Explained
One of Donald Trump’s final significant acts as president towards the end of December 2020 involved his signature, passing a very important law in the USA. A mere 5,500 pages of content heavily related to Coronavirus relief, signed by the 45th President, included a key passage ‘Preventing Online Sales of E-Cigarettes to Children Act’. It’s very carefully worded because although it points out something which is a necessity, it goes much deeper in terms of meaning for the vaping industry. While it’s great that the US is putting a stop to children vaping, it also reduces choice for adult vapers.
What it essentially creates is a dilemma for the vaping industry in the USA and further afield. When the bill was passed through Congress on the 27th of December, despite opposition to the bill from vaping lead authorities and advocates, it changed everything. From March 2021, the US Postal Service (USPS) will cease all shipments and mailing of vaping products.
What Does the USPS Ban Mean For Vapers?
It’s a huge deal for those using vaping products, as well as business making and distributing them to the United States. With over 600,000 employees, the USPS currently has a huge responsibility to deliver all types of vaping-related products to customers across the USA. It will require paying extra for shipping in all likelihood, ordering for delivery through independent courier companies to make deliveries. Considering some areas are out of delivery zones, and the follow-up announcement of FedEx also not making vaping product delivery, it leaves a massive issue for vapers.
Where will they get their products from? How much extra will it cost? Will new president Joe Biden reverse the decision through congress or support it? These are the kind of questions that will cause serious concern for vapers in the coming months and years ahead. When you factor in many turn to e-cigarettes as a nicotine alternative to smoking, often used as a cessation tool to quit and improve health, many may struggle with the new enforced legislations.
Any businesses wishing to proceed with shipments of nicotine and even non-nicotine vaping products will have to pass strict measures. These set out by the ‘Prevent All Cigarette Trafficking (PACT) Act, itself a part of the Jenkins Act. Penalties include up to a three-year prison sentence for any business that doesn’t follow the strict rules of PACT. This doesn’t just stop with products surrounding the vaping industry. It includes CBD and vaping THC too, which is a blow to the emerging and evolving Cannabidiol (CBD) industry.
How Will USPS Ban Impact Vaping Business
The PACT agreement features a long list of rules. Vaping businesses must adhere to these if they wish to stay successful and at the very least operational. Fines are just the beginning if a vaping business does not follow strict regulations in place. We all know the tobacco business has massively profited during the Coronavirus pandemic, leaving the vaping industry in a predicament. Because the US government continues to impose these rules against vapers using the cessation tool, the ripple effect only increases.
The USPS ban will certainly prove a challenge for consumers too. Where will they go to get their products? Will it involve risking their health during a pandemic to visit a local store for vaping supplies? With delivery limited, it may cause a greater risk short and long term to the US public. For years the USPS have provided a vital service to the vaping community. Now during the challenge of the Covid-19 pandemic, vapers will need to find another way.
During the next few months of 2021, we will all see how the vaping industry deals with this latest blow. As they continue to innovate products and e-liquids, surely they will do the same with distribution processes. The Omnibus Bill is the latest hurdle – one the vaping industry will wish to clear. In terms of ‘next steps’, outsourcing to independent couriers is even more vital now. Using solely services like UPS to meet customer demands appears to be the only way right now. Otherwise, they face losing potential customers. Or run the risk of creating a situation where people, especially the younger generation, will simply revert to smoking.