March 9, 2021
UK businesses are being impacted by a ‘Vape Mail’ ban in the US, the UK Vaping Industry Association (UKVIA) has warned.
The ban is part of a congressional spending bill passed under former President Trump. By 5 April, leading carriers such as UPS, FedEX, DHL and the US Postal Service will be off-limits for vaping shipments.
FedEx cites “cigarettes, cigars, loose tobacco, smokeless tobacco, hooka or shisha, vaporizers (and) E-cigarettes” as ‘tobacco products’ which will no longer be accepted. UPS will prohibit “any and all non-combustible liquid or gel, regardless of the presence of nicotine, capable of being used with or for the consumption of nicotine” as well as “all related vape devices, products and accessories are included in this prohibition.”
Bans across the US carrier network are set to apply to both import and export.
John Dunne, director general at UKVIA, described the news as “deeply concerning”, adding: “The vaping supply chain is a global one, bringing together resources and expertise from around the world. It is bitterly disappointing to see these American restrictions having a negative impact in the UK, but the nature of the supply chain makes it inevitable. In the EU too we are hearing of vaping businesses being turned away from major carriers.
“The potential impact on public health is grave, as so many people are relying on shipped goods as a lifeline during the pandemic. Without proper access to harm-reduction products we know people can revert to smoking cigarettes, today in the US but perhaps tomorrow in the UK. With businesses already struggling through lockdown, and our health services under great strain, supply chain issues really are the last thing we need.”
Dunne called on the distribution industry to do more to lobby governments to relax these restrictions.
“Furthermore, I call on the UK Government, to ensure that carriers in this country are free to continue to deliver vaping products to retailers and direct to consumers, and to resist any urge to follow the US down this regressive route,” Dunne said.
UKVIA members, such as Celtic Vapours, have already been affected. Their director, Joe Bevan, said: “We have had orders not being collected, and our own shops not receiving stock in a reliable manner, all of which impacts customers. As the majority of our business is currently online we need efficient delivery of stock to provide the quickest service.”
Richard Russell, Operations Manager at retailer Vape Distribution, said: “At a time when many vapers are unfortunately unable to visit their local vape store, this is making it even more difficult for them to receive the consumable products they rely upon. Certain carriers perhaps don’t realise that this action could lead vapers to revert back to smoking.”