The recent most COVID-19 relief bill, called the “Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021,” was approved by the U.S. Congress in December 2020. The bill appears to include an amendment to the Prevent All Cigarette Trafficking (PACT) Act that could dramatically affect the vaping market, including that of THC, CBD and hemp vape products.
According to the American Vaping Association: “Buried in this massive bill is a provision (see page 5,136) that will harm public health and small businesses by, among other things, banning the United States Postal Service (USPS) from shipping vaping products to adult consumers. And due to sloppy drafting, the effects of the law will be felt beyond the world of nicotine.”
The provision redefines the word “cigarette” under the PACT Act to include “electronic nicotine delivery systems.” The concern is that the bill’s verbiage is so broad that it seems to include electronic THC, CBD and hemp delivery systems, despite the fact that the bill only specifically lists nicotine.
The amendment to the PACT Act prohibits vape retailers from shipping products to adults through the United States Postal Service (USPS). Rather, retailers would have to use alternative and likely more costly shipping methods as well as age verification upon delivery.
In addition, “all Internet and mail-order retailers will be required to file voluminous monthly reports with State, Native tribes, and local governments disclosing the identity, address, and product orders of all customer orders to their jurisdiction, as well as remit any excise taxes owed,” according to the AVA.
Gregory Conley, AVA president, offered the following comments in December:
“While there is no shortage of talk in Congress about the importance of small businesses and social distancing, the decision to shove this ban in the middle of a pandemic relief package reveals how hollow that rhetoric is. Many Americans at risk of COVID-19 complications have been staying home and ordering their supplies online, but Congress just decided they should either pay much more for shipping or go to a retail store that may not stock the product they use to stay off deadly cigarettes.”
It is important to note that nicotine e-cigarettes are not approved by the FDA as a quit-smoking aid. Thus far, the research indicates that there is limited evidence that e-cigarettes are effective for helping smokers quit nicotine addiction.
“The sponsors of this legislation repeatedly refused to consider common sense amendments that would have protected youth, while also not needlessly shutting down small businesses. Thanks to their intransigence, the language included in the omnibus is so sloppily drafted that it will also ban the USPS from shipping CBD liquids intended to be vaporized, as well as devices intended for use with THC or other non-nicotine substances.”