The 5,500+ page stimulus package to support the economy because of the COVID-19 setbacks was much welcomed. But, when the Trump administration signed the bill, the S1253 rule stood out as a cause of special concern for vaping enthusiasts and people using vapes as smoking cessation devices. While the intention behind the rule is valid, it might just have unexpected fallouts. Here are some interesting facts about how the law will be implemented.
The Objective – Preventing Online Sales of E-Cigarettes to Children Act
The objective of the Preventing Online Sales of E-Cigarettes to Children Act, also called the Vape Mail Ban, is simple – making it impossible for underage vapers to get hold of the supplies. But, the problem is with how the issue is addressed. The law bans the United States Postal Service from delivering vaping products. However, private delivery services like FedEx, DHL, and UPS will be allowed to continue taking orders from customers and bring packages from online stores and vendors. These services will be required to comply with several laws and regulations.
Interestingly, many private carriers don’t serve remote locations that are hard to access. Instead, they might rely on the USPS to complete “last mile” deliveries. With the postal service out of the mix, private delivery companies may also choose to stop accepting vaping product orders.
All Electronic Cigarettes are Included in the Law
The new ban extends to all kinds of electronic cigarettes, including nicotine, CBD, cannabis, and THC delivery systems. And, that’s not all. The law also requires vendors to comply with the Prevent All Cigarette Trafficking (PACT) Act. Whether or not the ban will be successful in preventing young people from buying and using vaping products remains to be seen.
But, the fact remains that regulated vape products like Hyde Vape sold by licensed vendors (click here for more information) will get much more expensive. The difficulty in buying smoking cessation devices and supplies might just make adult smokers switch to more-easily available combustible cigarettes.
Conditions for Delivering Vape Products
The federal government has levied several conditions on the delivery of electronic delivery systems. Here are some of the key requirements that vendors must follow and why they aren’t practical.
- Stores must register with the U.S. Attorney General.
- Vendors must verify customers’ ages using a commercially-available national database.
- Private shipping companies delivering vape products must collect the signatures of the adult recipient.
- Several states levy taxes on vape products. Sellers operating in these states must register with the federal government and state tobacco tax administrators.
- Each product must carry the required tax stamps confirming that applicable state and local taxes have been collected on it.
- Vendors must maintain a record of the transactions they have made with the customers in their state. This record will have information like the names and addresses of the buyers placing orders for the products. The type and brand along with the quantity should also be listed when sending the details to the state tax administrator.
- In case of any delivery interruptions where the carrier or service was unable to complete the delivery because of possible violations of the PACT Act, vendors must maintain a record of the incident for five years.
All of these regulations are difficult to follow and execute. They make processing and completing orders extremely complicated. Non-compliance can earn vendors stern penalties, such as large fines and prison terms of up to three years.
Higher Costs Will Likely be Transferred to Customers
Maintaining records can be expensive for vendors and online sellers and the additional costs they incur will likely get transferred to customers. As a result, vaping products are likely to get priced at higher rates. Shipping costs add around $15 to $20 to the final price of a package. At these costs, vapers can purchase an extra bottle of 120mL e-liquids. Buyers relying on vaping as smoking cessation devices might just switch to cigarettes since they are cheaper. The Vape Mail Ban may not have the desired result of making supplies difficult to acquire by underage vapers. The only outcome will be higher pricing.
Yes! Availability Will be Adversely Affected – Is That a Good Thing?
The new rules will affect the availability of vaping supplies in rural locations. It may be difficult to find brick-and-mortar establishments carrying products, and users may lack the time and inclination to travel long distances to visit stores and buy what they need. The COVID-19 lockdowns have resulted in many businesses closing down, some permanently, since they lacked sustainability and the resources to stay in business.
On the flip side, stores and gas stations carrying combustible cigarettes are typically designated as essential services and continued to stay open all through the pandemic. Let’s not forget the new regulations that require vape stores to show certification that their products are safe to use and don’t contain harmful components.
The Authorities Have Bigger Concerns to Deal With
If curbing underage vaping was the intention behind the Vape Mail Ban, the authorities might just have bigger issues to deal with. Most importantly, the law does not include shady dealers and vendors operating via social media platforms. The black market for vaping products is likely to thrive because of the non-availability of certified brands and supplies. These products may contain toxic and dangerous components that are extremely harmful to both adults and young people. Illegally imported vaping products can create bigger problems.
To Sum Up the Situation…
The “Preventing Online Sales of E-Cigarettes to Children Act” has effectively cut down funding to the USPS and prevents shipping vaping products. Although private delivery companies can complete orders, they must follow stringent rules. Licensed vendors and sellers must follow complicated and costly procedures to stay in business. And, users living in remote areas may not be able to access smoking cessation devices – but, they can buy cigarettes readily.
The bottom line? Lawmakers might want to take a closer look at the regulations and reassess their execution.