Preventing Online Sales of E-Cigarettes to Children Act, essentially, is intended to prevent children from getting their hands on vapes. It is an amendment of the PACT act, originally passed in 2009, which amended the existing Jenkins Act of 1949, which “required interstate shippers to report cigarette sales to state tobacco tax administrators,” according to National Law Review.
The PACT Act has long required all companies that sell cigarette products and ship for profit to register both the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and with the tobacco tax administrators of the state where they are shipping. But, as of this 2020 PACT act revision, there’s now a blanket ban on mailing tobacco products to the consumer by the U.S. postal service. Plus, because this new amendment now extends to Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS), that postal ban applies to all vaping products, too.
As of March 27, 2021, no vapes of any kind can be delivered directly to the consumer by mail, and although business-to-business sales are permitted, registration and reporting conditions apply. The way this new law is worded also implicates hemp and cannabis vape companies—because it prohibits any device that vaporizes, and the shipping of accessories and components related to these vapes, even nicotine-free e-liquids and CBD cartridges, reports Vaping360.
“Hemp advocates don’t believe they’re meant to be in the crosshairs,” Alex Buscher, a hemp industry lawyer in Colorado, told Filter Magazine. “The legislation appears directed at keeping vaping products out of the hands of children and underage teenagers. However, many are concerned that the wording of the bill could extend to them—specifically, the reference to ‘any electronic device that, through an aerosolized solution, delivers nicotine, flavor or any other substance to the user inhaling from the device.”
Even though the USPS recently announced that they may allow vaping companies to apply for exemptions from these regulations, it’s unclear where all of this will land and how hemp and CBD will be affected in the long-run. In the process of the USPS figuring it out, vaping activists claim that the PACT act may completely wipe out small vape businesses waiting for exemptions.
What’s more, pro-vape activists fear this new revision may squash what little favorable public opinion the vaping industry has left after the summer of 2019, when it made headlines that young people were landing in hospitals with lung injuries due to vaping. Though it was eventually found legal vapes were not to blame for these issues, “critics have long pointed out that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) didn’t make clear that it was vitamin E acetate—a chemical found in some illicit, tainted THC cartridges—that was causing the problem,” reports Filter.
With that in mind, will these new legal hurdles may be the final nail in the vape industry coffin? It’s unclear. For now, vape companies are looking for alternative shipping options, pivoting to more business to business relationships, and generally finding any way they can to survive the PACT-Act era.
“Don’t let the federal government put you out of business when you have a fighting chance to use the market against them,” writes Vaping Daily about the PACT act revisions. “Invest smartly in new manufacturing ventures, apply for credit or loans to stay afloat, expand your business-to-business networks and absorb the costs of these new regulations to beat the government at their own game.”