For a minute there, it looked like the vapor industry was going up in smoke.
The Prevent All Cigarette Trafficking (PACT) Act is a US law that prohibits the use of the US Postal Service (USPS) to deliver tobacco products. In December 2020, the PACT Act was amended to define all vape products as tobacco – making it illegal for USPS to transport all things vapor between states.
Common couriers like UPS, FedEx, DHL, etc. have stated that they will prohibit merchants from using their services to send vape products.
Despite these changes, a few couriers still ship vape products in the US, including Easyship's approved list of partners. This means you can use Easyship to keep your vapor business moving forward.
However, the PACT Act brings new requirements for vape shippers in three parts: registration, reporting, and shipping restrictions. This blog will walk you through all the red tape and the workarounds.
Here’s everything you need to know about shipping vape products in the US under the PACT Act.
Table of Contents
What Is The PACT Act?
First passed in 2009, the PACT Act was created to block the shipment of cigarettes and smokeless tobacco products via the US Postal Service. The Pact Act was recently amended to modify to the original definition of “cigarette” to include Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS).
The term “ENDS” includes all vaping products and accessories, even if they don’t contain nicotine. This applies to zero-nicotine e-liquids, tobacco free nicotine e-cigs, and CBD/THC vape pens, among other products.
Here’s the new legal definition of ENDS: “any electronic device that, through an aerosolized solution, delivers nicotine, flavor, or any other substance to the user inhaling from the device,” and this includes “an e-cigarette; an e-hookah; an e-cigar; a vape pen; an advanced refillable personal vaporizer; an electronic pipe; and any component, liquid, part, or accessory of a device described [above], without regard to whether the component, liquid, part, or accessory is sold separately from the device.”
In short, the amended PACT Act prohibits you from using USPS to deliver “ENDS” directly to consumers. Shipping vapes between businesses is allowed, in certain cases, which we’ll discuss below.
Violations of the new PACT Act carry civil and criminal penalties, including up to three years in prison. It’s important for anyone involved in the selling, manufacturing, or shipping of vapes or vape parts across US state lines to consider how and if the PACT Act impacts their business.
Common Carriers Refuse to Carry Vape Products
All major US parcel carriers have vowed to honor the PACT Act. This means UPS, FedEx, DHL, and other common couriers now prohibit the shipping of vaporizer components via their services.
If you’re in the vape shipping business, you’ll need to find a new shipping solution. Fortunately, a handful of vape-approved shipping solutions exist and have partnered with Easyship to offer their services.
PACT Means New Requirements For Vape Product Merchants
The amended PACT Act is live as of March 28, 2021. In addition to the non-mailing provisions, the PACT Act carries other requirements for sellers of vape products and e-cigarettes, including:
Registration Before the Sale
You'll need to register with the offices of both The Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) and tobacco tax administrations of any state in which you sell or advertise vapor products. This applies to companies that sell directly to consumers, but also to distributors and manufacturers involved in inter-state commerce.
For example, if you sell vapes online to buyers in Alaska you must register with Alaska state ATF office and tobacco tax office. And even if you advertise in Alaska but never make a sale in Alaska, you are still required to register with these offices.
That said, the new registration requirement only applies if the destination-state taxes vape products. Currently, 28 states tax ENDS products. You should look closely at which states tax ENDS, but also if that state has made certain END products exempt from taxes, like THC, CBD, and hemp products.
Requirements For Shipping
- Label your packages as containing tobacco products.
- Verify the age and identity of the customer at purchase.
- Use a non-prohibited delivery method that checks ID and obtains the purchaser’s legal signature.
Reporting After The Sale
- Maintain all records of your delivery sales for four years after the sale date.
- File a monthly report with the state tobacco administration in every state in which you sell or advertise your products, as well as any local or tribal entity that taxes the sale of tobacco products. This report must include the name and address of both the persons delivering and receiving the shipment, as well as the brand and quantity of items delivered.
3 Tips For Shipping Vapes
- Review your shipping technology: Direct-to-consumer vape merchants should ensure that excise taxes are being collected from buyers when required, and that data is being stored properly to remain PACT compliant. With Easyship, all tax information is customizable in checkout to ensure you capture the right data and collect the right taxes.
- Stay compliant: The ATF maintains a list of persons who fail to comply with the PACT Act, and distributes this list to common carriers, USPS, credit card companies, and other entities to ensure that you are unable to get around the prohibitions.
- Check your exception status: Historically, the PACT Act has exempted business-to-business deliveries from the USPS ban. USPS has stated that it plans to extend this B2B exception for ENDS products. If you’re sending vapor products “for business purposes” to another business, you’ll need to apply with the USPS Pricing and Classification Service Center. You’ll also need to required to observe the registration and reporting requirements listed above. More clarification is forthcoming from USPS on B2B vape shipping.
Vape Shipping Is Simple With Easyship
Vape merchants of every stripe can use Easyship to ship vapes in the US. Our all-in-one platform gives you instant access to all US vape-approved shipping solutions.
Plus, you won't need to create an account with the courier or reach any order minimums. Just create your shipment in our easy-to-use dashboard, print the label, and you’re set. And you’ll save up to 70% off all rates with our pre-negotiated discounted rates.
Easyship also integrates with top eCommerce platforms like Shopify and Magento, as well as marketplaces like Amazon and eBay. In just a single click, you can sync all your products and orders into Easyship.
This allows you to manage all your shipping activity in one seamless flow. It takes only a couple minutes to link your online store with Easyship – and then it's back to business as usual, without any PACT hassles.
To create your Easyship account, click here.