Vape Industry Update
DHL joins Vape Shipping Ban
DHL released an email out this week to all of their contacts who ship vapor products to and from the United States saying the following: “due to recent regulatory changes regarding the transportation of E-Cigarettes, DHL will no longer accept Vaping Products for import or export through its U.S. network as of March 26, 2021. This prohibition includes all vape devices, products and accessories.”
Introducing the ATF to the Vape Industry (The Juggernauts)
For the majority of the vape industry’s life we have been under the enforcement of the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) and CTP (Center for Tobacco Product). Both organizations are more regulatory in nature with power to enforce laws. However, you don’t see the FDA putting people in handcuffs most of the time for breaking those laws. Instead you tend to see warning letters, C&D (Cease and Desist) letters, fines among other civil penalties. Much like the new warning letters issued today to manufacturers not submitting PMTAs for their products. Beginning March 27th however, things change as a new enforcement agency that previously has never had oversight into the vape industry now will. The new PACT ACT amendment now requires online sellers and shippers (including B2B) to register with the ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives). This organization doesn’t play around. The ATF is part of the United States Justice Department and similar to a police force. In comparison the ATF to the Vape Industry is what the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) is to drug dealers. They have the power to search, arrest and raid locations suspected of violating the law. Familiar with the Waco massacre of 1993 that resulted in 80 deaths? Yeah, that was the ATF. While these are vapes and not guns, companies are taking this very seriously. So when companies are asking for Business Licenses, OTP (Other Tobacco Product) Licenses or Tax Documentation just so you can place an order, this is why. The ATF considers illegal vapor products, whether that be untaxed, unregistered, or out of compliance product shipping across state lines as “Trafficking”. The penalties for doing so include up to prison time. So hopefully many of you can understand why FedEx, UPS, USPS and DHL don’t want to mess with the vape industry anymore. Long gone will be the days of buying products online easy and having it shipped anywhere you want even in the case of B2B. With now 27 states, each with unique tax laws not including also city and country laws, the possibility of making a mistake and sending a shipment where it shouldn’t go, undocumented, untaxed or illegal, could lead to very serious trouble for all parties involved.
What can you do?
For starters, if your supplier asks for documents to continue shipping products to you, it’s not being they want to be a pain. They want to ensure you are buying legal products and it’s a legal shipment. If you have not done so, you should spend time completing the PACT ACT required documents that your suppliers are asking for. Come March 27th, many stores could be in for a rude awakening when they attempt to make a purchase if they haven’t submitted those items, and for suppliers who continue to ship without complying with these new laws… it could just be a matter of time before the ATF mobilizes to take massive action. The vape industry already does not have many allies. The ATF is not one. Legislators have been pushing for the FDA to start removing more products from the market since PMTAs and if the legislators go to the ATF, they might do their bidding very quickly. So be proactive and ensure you are within compliance with your out of state suppliers prior to March 27th. Ours can be found here: https://www.ejuices.co/pages/pact? We also need to review and approve them so please complete them by Monday if you haven’t done so already. (USA Required Only)
Vape Shipping Cutoff Dates Announced
FedEx: March 1st (Confirmed Complete Ban)
DHL March 26th (U.S. Network Import and Export)
ATF Compliance Begins March 27th (required for shippers and online suppliers only)
UPS: April 5th (Confirmed Complete Ban)
USPS: likely on or before April 26th (Limited Exemptions if any)