The U.S. Congress has banned all electronic nicotine delivery system (ENDS) products from being mailed by the United States Postal Service (USPS). The rule change was lumped into the Covid-19/ omnibus budget bill passed yesterday. The proposal, collectively called the Consolidated Appropriations Act,
2021, now awaits a signature from President Trump to become law. Trump is expected to sign the bill later today.
The updated provision redefines the word “cigarette” under the Prevent All Cigarette Trafficking Act (PACT Act), which is part of the federal Jenkins Act, to include ENDS products.
By including ENDS products within the PACT Act, manufacturers and retailers will be banned from shipping vaping products to consumers using the USPS within the next 120 days. All orders of vaping products will be required to ship using an alternate (and considerably more expensive) service that verifies the recipient of a package is at least 21 years old.
Beginning 90 days after enactment, all online retailers also will be required to file monthly reports with native, state and local governments disclosing the identity, address and product received for all customers, as well as remit any excise taxes owed.
Many vaping industry advocates are angered by the text of the proposal because legislators used an expansive definition of what qualifies as an “electronic nicotine delivery system” that seems to include products that may not contain nicotine. The term “means any electronic device that, through an aerosolized solution, delivers nicotine, flavor, or any other substance to the user inhaling from the device,” the legislation states.
Greg Conley, president of the American Vaping Association, said that despite the inclusion of the word “nicotine,” the definition used in the bill is so broad that it appears to capture vaping liquids containing CBD and standalone devices intended for vaping THC or other substances.
“The sponsors of this legislation repeatedly refused to consider common sense amendments that would have protected youth, while also not needlessly shutting down small businesses. Thanks to their intransigence, the language included in the omnibus is so sloppily drafted that it will also ban the USPS from shipping CBD liquids intended to be vaporized, as well as devices intended for use with THC or other non-nicotine substances,” said Conley. “There are still 36 million American adults smoking combustible cigarettes and over 400,000 will die from smoking-related illnesses this year alone. The American people should start questioning why their government is so intent on making it harder for adults to quit smoking.”
According to its website, UPS prohibits the shipment of all cigarettes and little cigars to consumers, regardless of destination state. Other tobacco product shipments must be made using the “UPS Delivery Confirmation Adult Signature Required service, requiring the signature of an adult 21 years of age or older upon delivery.”
Trump has the authority to use a line item veto on the provision and still pass the larger bill, though that is not expected.