Vape Ban 2021: How Congress Seeks to Curb Vaping

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by Jeffrey Buckley

Updated: August 16, 2021

Anti vaping

The recent vape ban that targets vapers and vaping businesses or rather, to ban it.

This article is an overview of what will happen due to the recent amendment to the PACT Act, such as its effects on vaping businesses and everyday citizens. Readers who own vaping businesses should carefully read this article as well as the laws mentioned herein.

What Is the PACT Act?

The PACT Act (Prevent All Cigarette Trafficking Act) is an amendment to the Jenkins Act, one of the first laws meant to regulate tobacco.

This act just got bigger thanks to the passage of the Preventing Online Sales of E-Cigarettes to Children Act, which was buried in the 5,000 page spending bill that President Donald Trump signed into law – a parting gift from his administration.

About the Preventing Online Sales of E-Cigarettes to Children Act

The Preventing Online Sales of E-Cigarettes to Children Act (colloquially known as the “vape ban”) requires the US Postal Service to cease shipping vape products to residential addresses. It also lumps vaping products into the aforementioned PACT Act.

Additionally, the provisions of this law are expansive, covering any device that can vaporize oils or nicotine liquids, including CBD oils and THC cartridges.

The PACT ACT, Tax Compliance, and Additional Requirements

The PACT Act regulates tobacco products and mandates that states and smaller jurisdictions collect taxes from online sellers. Even better is that it requires online sellers to register with the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF).

Other vape flavor ban requirements are:

  • Implementation of age verification
  • Use of private shipping companies that collect an adult signature upon delivery
  • Registration with the US Attorney General’s office
  • Registration with state and local tax agencies
  • Provide the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of customers to the appropriate tax authorities.
  • Additional labeling requirements

Failure to abide by these requirements could result in criminal penalties, and the agency responsible for enforcement is the ATF.

Additionally, the individual states of the Union have their own regulations governing the use and sale of vapes and nicotine liquids, meaning that there will also be requirements for small businesses to pay sales taxes and excise taxes in various states.

These tax compliance regulations are so onerous that one tax firm specializing in creating software for the heavily regulated oil and gas and tobacco industries has just rolled out tax software for vape stores.

This goes to show how difficult it will be to comply with these new regulations. The vast majority of vaping companies will not have the staff required to remain compliant. Probably, they will have to close their vaping businesses down.

The only vaping companies that will survive the vape ban are those that have immense cash reserves and the resources to hire enough staff to research the various federal and state requirements that regulate the sale, possession, and taxing of vapes, nicotine liquids, and accessories.

How Will Shipping Restrictions Affect Vapers in 2021?

Young hispanic man holding electronic cigarette with open hand doing stop

In February, the USPS announced its intent to institute a rule called the Treatment of E-Cigarettes in the Mail. The rule intends to add vaping products to its regulations governing the shipment of tobacco products.

This rule prevents using the USPS to ship tobacco products in packages of more than 10 ounces to retail customers, except Hawaii and Alaska.

If vapes and nicotine liquids are added to this rule, customers will likely be able to order vape products so long as the package does not weigh more than 10 ounces.

US Postal Service Postpones Ban on Sending Vapes Via Mail

When the USPS proposed these rule changes, it allowed citizens 31 days to comment on them. It is quite likely that they were hit by a high volume of complaints from vapers. As a result, the vape ban has not yet been enforced.

However, the USPS cannot defy Congress, and the USPS will likely implement this rule eventually.

Closing Thoughts About the Flavored Vape Ban

There are all sorts of things one can say about the vape ban. The most important thing to point out is that it was stuffed in a 5,000 page spending bill, so it is not too far off to say that this was not a spending bill. Instead, it was a way to get around the proper legislative process in which proposed Acts of Congress are debated and voted on.

Vape company owners and advocates have started fighting back by creating American Vaping Association. This organization has been active in galvanizing people into writing to the United States Postal Service, which is likely one of the reasons the new shipping rules have been delayed.

If the AVA was able to rally that many people to their phones, this will be a powerful lobbying group, and it is possible that they will be able to amend the act.

If the AVA is ineffective in lobbying for change, it is likely that it will be so difficult to order vaping products, that the industry will set back many years.

It is tempting to blame “Big Tobacco’s” lobbyists for this ban, and there is justification to believe they might have had something to do with getting this act stuffed into the spending bill.

Afterall, Phillip Morris produces and sells the IQOS e-cigarette, which vaporizes tobacco leaves.

Could they have wanted a law that would make it harder to buy e-liquids so that ex-smokers would use their new product. It is possible. But why would these companies ban a product they could easily make themselves?

It is best to use Occum’s Razor to cut through the fog, here. It is more likely that this bill was passed by anti-tobacco busy-bodies at the FDA or some other alphabet soup health organization in Washington whose bureaucrats are still stuck in the 90s and associate vaping with cigarettes.

What do you think? If you have some inside information on what lobbyists are doing, you are more than welcome to chime in. And feel free to give your opinion on the vaping ban.

Published: August 16, 2021
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Jeffrey Buckley

I was a smoker for over 25 years. In this time I also earned my medical degree with a specialization in addiction treatment and counseling. That period has led me to vaping, my interest started around 2011. I’m fighting the tide of hysteria and dis-information around vaping that emanates from various fronts legislative, cultural and scientific. Having scientific councils support, I’m happy to contribute my thoughts, articles, and expertise.