The past year wasn’t a great one for the vaping industry – and with the signing of a new omnibus spending bill by then-President Donald Trump at the end of 2020, 2021 isn’t looking much better. The bill will ban all shipments of vaping products to consumers by US mail, effectively ending the online vaping industry in the United States as we currently know it.
Vape Mail Ban: The Short Version of the Story
In this article, we’ll share the full story on the vape mail ban. You’ll find out why it’s happening and learn about the timelines surrounding it. The short version of the story, however, is that the vape mail ban is a real thing. It’s not something that’s a remote possibility; it’s already been signed into law. Within a few months, you will no longer be able to get e-liquid or vape gear by mail, and it looks like all of the major private carriers are following suit. Business-to-business shipments, however, are not affected by the ban, so local vape shops are not going anywhere. There has never been a better time to support a vape shop near you.
What Is the US Vape Mail Ban?
The vape mail ban is a provision that you can find on page 5,136 of a federal government spending bill nearly 5,600 pages in length. The ban will prevent the US Postal Service from shipping all vaping products to consumers. The ban covers devices, coils, e-liquid, nicotine-free e-liquid and even CBD vaping products.
In addition to the vape mail ban, the spending bill also includes a new measure requiring online sellers of vaping products to comply with the Prevent All Cigarette Trafficking (PACT) Act of 2009. The measure will require online vape shops – if any do manage to find shipping couriers, which is unlikely – to comply with onerous paperwork burdens that are well beyond the capacity of most small businesses.
When Will the Vape Mail Ban Take Effect?
The vape mail ban officially takes effect 90 days after the signing of the omnibus spending bill, which happened on December 27. The US Postal Service has 120 days after the signing to implement the new regulation, but you can assume that legal mail shipments of vaping products will essentially stop in the United States on or around the end of March. It is unlikely that the USPS will need the full 120 days to implement the ban.
Why Did the Vape Mail Ban Pass Without a Congressional Debate?
Welcome to the wonderful world of the omnibus spending bill. The spending bill for 2021 provides the budget that will keep the federal government funded for most of the year. The bill also includes spending related to COVID-19 economic relief, including stimulus payments for citizens. In short, the omnibus spending bill was considered “must-pass” legislation by both Congress and President Trump. With all-encompassing spending bills of this type, members of Congress often don’t have enough time to read the bill before voting on it – and even if lawmakers did have time to read the bill, no one was going to be the person who stalled much-needed COVID relief or triggered a government shutdown to argue against a vape mail ban.
The 2021 omnibus spending bill is the longest bill ever passed by Congress. It’s highly likely that many members of Congress weren’t even aware of the vape mail ban before voting on the bill.
In any case, though, all vape-related bans have broad support from politicians regardless of their party affiliation. Explaining the long history of anti-vape sentiment among US politicians is beyond the scope of this article. Suffice it to say, however, that vapers have few friends in the government.
Unfortunately, lawmakers have a long history of slipping unrelated and often controversial line items into large spending bills to ensure the passage of those items without debate. It’s a universal practice that isn’t exclusive to either political party.
Can Companies Still Ship E-Liquid via FedEx, UPS or DHL?
In short, no. It appears that none of the major independent shipping companies will be delivering vape gear to consumers going forward.
- FedEx considers all vaping products to be tobacco products and will not ship them.
- A UPS spokesperson commented to Vaping360 that, as of April 5, UPS will stop delivering vaping products to consumers.
- DHL also prohibits the shipping of vaping products to consumers.
The only real remaining option for online vape shops is to use small private and regional couriers in places where those couriers exist. Even where private courier shipping is an option, though, vape shops will still need to comply with the extensive new record keeping requirements.
There may be a few vape shops that exist only online, have no brick-and-mortar presence and have the extensive resources required to comply with the new paperwork requirements, and it’s possible that some of those companies will enter into agreements with local courier services. You should expect, however, that the vape mail ban will end all home delivery of vaping products.
Can Anything Be Done to Stop the Vape Mail Ban?
It’s possible that a company with deep pockets that subsists only on online sales will mount a lawsuit in an attempt to challenge the vape mail ban. However, no such lawsuit has been filed at the time of writing, and it’s unlikely that such a lawsuit would be successful.
The time to stop the vape mail ban would have been before the omnibus spending bill was passed. That was never going to happen, though, because virtually everyone wants the federal government to stay funded and supports COVID-related economic relief. No member of Congress was going to be the person who triggered a government shutdown or delayed stimulus payments to out-of-work citizens because they disagreed with the vape mail ban – and no one member of Congress could have delayed the bill’s passage, anyway. The bill breezed through Congress, and even in the event of a presidential veto, there would have been an override vote. Unfortunately, from the moment the vape mail ban was added to the omnibus bill, it became inevitable.
The vape mail ban speaks to a much larger problem in lawmaking, and the problem is a system that encourages and rewards lawmakers for slipping unrelated line items into incomprehensibly large bills at the last possible moment to ensure their passage. The only way to curtail that practice is by choosing your elected officials carefully.
The Vape Mail Ban Makes Local Vape Shops More Important Than Ever
The US vape mail ban is bad news for the American vaping industry, and it’s certainly not going to do anything to protect public health. It’s happening, though, so we want to reassure you that your favorite Oklahoma City vape shop isn’t going anywhere. The vape mail ban doesn’t affect shipments to retailers, and we will continue providing the same top-notch service we always have.
We anticipate that thousands of vapers in OKC will be moving their business from online retailers to local vape shops in the near future. We have ample stock and are ready to serve you. We are also doing everything we can to slow the spread of COVID-19 and ensure your continued safety. Learn more about The Vape Bar’s COVID-19 procedures.