The Senate is considering a bill that would prohibit the U.S. Postal Service from shipping vapor products, and would require online purchasers to pay extra for point-of-delivery age verification. The cost of an online vaping purchase could increase by as much as $20.
Senate bill S 1253 is known as the Preventing Online Sales of E-Cigarettes to Children Act. The House of Representatives already passed an identical bill (HR 3942) on Oct. 28. If the Senate approves the bill, it will go to President Trump to be signed into law or vetoed.
The bill currently has 24 Senate co-sponsors, including 11 Republicans. That means nearly half of the needed votes (it takes 51 votes to pass a bill in the Senate) are committed to the bill. Only an overwhelming response from vapers and the vaping industry is likely to stop the bill.
CASAA has an active call to action for S 1253, and is asking vapers to act urgently to prevent the bill from being approved. Follow the link below to send an email to both of your U.S. Senators.
The bill compels the U.S. Postal Service to make rules within 120 days to ban delivery of vaping products. That would mean delivery by private carriers, which are more expensive than the mail. Additionally, the purchaser would be forced to pay for adult signature on delivery, a service that adds considerably to the cost. While not a vape ban per se, such a law would force many vapers back to smoking.
The bill, if passed, will especially punish vapers who don’t live near vape shops. Vapers with disabilities and those who live in rural areas depend on online sellers, and this act will force them to pay a punitive premium for no reason.
Data shows that most underage acquisition of vaping products is through social sources. That is, minors get vapes from friends and relatives. The bill does nothing to prevent straw purchases (one person buying to sell or give to someone else).
Current age verification systems, which match the buyers personal information with information in public databases, are very reliable. The only reason to replace them with a personal ID check at the point of delivery is to harass vapers. The bill will not address sales to minors through social media or unscrupulous sellers on eBay.
Sadly, some vape shop owners are joining convenience store associations and some tobacco companies to support a ban on online sales. Obviously, vape shops may see online sellers as competition, and it’s true that online merchants are able to sell products for less because the expenses of running a retail store drive prices up.
However, online businesses have been around since before most vape shops existed. They were the first companies to offer vaping products to American customers, and have always been valued members of the vaping community.
Those early customers even coined a nickname for the eagerly awaited shipments delivered by the Postal Service: vape mail. It’s a term almost everyone who started vaping before 2013 thinks of fondly.