The Preventing Online Sales of E-Cigarettes to Children Act was introduced in the U.S. Senate by Sens. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and John Cornyn, R-Texas, and in the U.S. House by Reps. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., and Kelly Armstrong, R-N.D.
The legislation requires online sellers of e-cigarettes to ensure that the delivery carrier verifies the age of the recipient upon delivery. It also requires online sellers to collect and remit the appropriate state and local taxes.
As part of the “Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021,” in the most recent COVID-19 relief bill signed into law on December 27, 2020, Congress amended the Prevent All Cigarette Trafficking (“PACT”) Act to apply to e-cigarettes and all vaping products. Originally passed in 2009, the PACT Act amended the existing Jenkins Act of 1949, which required interstate shippers to report cigarette sales to state tobacco tax administrators in order to combat illicit sales and tax avoidance. When it became law 60 years later – the same year the Tobacco Control Act gave FDA authority over tobacco products – the PACT Act, among other things, prohibited the use of the U.S. Postal Service (“USPS”) to deliver cigarettes and smokeless tobacco products directly to consumers.
Critically for the vapor industry, the most commonly used carriers, Federal Express and United Parcel Service (UPS), have recently announced that they would cease all deliveries of vapor products. According to Vaping360, as of March 1, 2021, FedEx will begin prohibiting “electronic cigarettes, vaping liquids, and other vaping products in the FedEx global network.” A UPS spokesperson also told Vaping360 that, effective April 5, 2021, “UPS will not transport vaping products to, from, or within the United States due to the increased complexity to ship those products.”
Without effective delivery options, PACT Act compliance becomes moot. Many vapor businesses are exploring arrangements with private logistics and transportation companies, as well as expensive software solutions to help comply with the PACT Act requirements, but the outlook for many small vapor companies and online retailers looks bleak.