Just before recess was scheduled to begin at the time of vacation, lawmakers in the United States Senate passed S.1253, which is the Preventing the Online Sales of Electronic Cigarettes for Children Act. Instead of preventing the selling of e-cigarettes online for sale to kids, this bill prohibits all vape-related deliveries via the USPS. In addition, all deliveries of vape-related products will require an official signature at the time of delivery.
S.1253 was approved by the U.S. Senate with unanimous consent, which means that there was no objection from a single senator to the legislation. The bill must be approved in the House of Representatives and signed by the President prior to becoming law. If S.1253 is passed, USPS has 120 days to stop sending vapes.
Although S.1253 does not prohibit vape kits from private delivery companies like FedEx and UPS, it will have a major impact on all vapers.
USPS is typically the cheapest shipping option that many online stores offer. If USPS is not an option for shipping vape products, shops and customers will have to choose more costly shipping alternatives. This would make operating a vape store or an individual vape more expensive.
Although S.1253 is known as the “Preventing Online Sales of E-Cigarettes to Children Act,” it does not do much to stop the sale of electronic cigarettes online to children. The people most affected the most are those living in remote areas and those who are impacted by COVID-19 shutdowns.
Smokers who live in rural areas are those most hard hit. Shipping costs for rural areas can go up to around 15-20. That’s an additional 120ml to cover shipping costs!
However, they won’t be the only ones who rely on orders made online. Many, such as vapers, began to shop more online after local stores were forced to shut down. Vape shops, in many cases, may not be operational. Some may not be allowed to operate. Some, like many other companies, might not have the money to remain in business.
The most significant problem with the bill is that it’s not good legislation to combat the smoking epidemic that the bill was designed to tackle. S.1253 is not designed to make purchasing illegal vapes much more difficult for minors; it just makes all vaping more costly. Although it discourages purchasing by minors, it does so in a way that is detrimental to all vapers and specifically targets vapers who reside in rural regions.
No matter what the opinion, regardless of opinions, people are out less often and purchasing things online more often. In some areas with stricter regulations, mortar shops may not be an option, even for curbside pick-up. Other shops have been shut for good due to the financial issues following several temporary closures.
The bill doesn’t address illicit sales via social media, which is an unregulated market that has a greater impact on youth than reputable websites. If adults have access to reliable, affordable products, there’s no reason to buy E-liquids from questionable sellers.
The bottom line is that S.1253 will take money from USPS. It also costs vapers money and effort; instead of targeting teens who are vaping, the legislation targets vapers who live in remote areas.
The House of Representatives is scheduled to begin voting in person on the 20th of July 2020. In the meantime, you are able to reach your representative and make a statement against S1253.