A letter published on July 12th by the American Vaping Association reveals over 400 vape suppliers are urging delivery company FedEx to rethink their shipping restrictions. The letter makes several valid points, which appear, at present, to be unheeded by both the delivery company and indeed, the government. Today we will look at why this letter was signed and the numerous harms that exist due to FedEx’s short-sighted policy.
What is the ‘Vape Mail Ban’?
In short, a bill introduced in the US senate on April 30th, 2019, required the US postal service to implement regulations to prohibit the mailing of e-cigarettes, e-hookahs, and vape pens. Companies such as FedEx have followed suit, and since March 1st, have stopped accepting vapor products.
If you are wondering why the ban was implemented, the aim originally was to prevent cigarette trafficking, known as the “PACT’ act. The overall goal is to stop illegal sales and avoidance of tax. However, amendments to the act made in 2020 included electronic devices, components, and liquids.
In the past, the PACT act gave provision for businesses to ship to other businesses. However, without this allowance, it is feared that even bricks and mortar shops will struggle to survive as they will not be able to ensure a steady supply of products to keep their shelves stocked.
While the USPS is yet to implement the restrictions given in the act, there is no clarity on how suppliers of vaping products will distribute, and receive, their goods.
Why is the ‘Vape Mail Ban’ Dangerous?
The vape mail ban comes from a wave of anti-vaping legislation introduced ‘to protect public health’. Advocates of the policy, such as Chuck Schumer, described as the ‘energizer bunny’ of the vaping panic, and Raja Krishnamoorthi, cite aims like preventing a youth vaping ‘epidemic’.
If you think that sounds noble and worthy, the data suggests the opposite.
The sad news is that vaping has been effective in helping millions of people quit smoking. In fact, in other countries, vaping is actively encouraged as an effective means to quit.
Studies have shown that nicotine users are effectively forced back to smoking ‘traditional’ cigarettes by restricting vaping. A recent ban on vaping flavors in San Francisco has led to a rise in teen smoking. When combined with a further study that demonstrates that e-cigarette users would likely have been smokers anyway, restrictions on the availability of vapes do nothing except ensure that users smoke instead of vape.
Make no mistake, this will have negative health consequences. Here are some of the arguments put forth by the American Vaping Associations’ letter.
The PACT Act Plays into The Hands Of ‘Big Tobacco’
While your average local brick-and-mortar vape store relies solely on private shipping companies, such as FedEx, big tobacco companies have the means to create their own private shipping networks.
Essentially, the big players don’t need to use the regular postage channels. They own their own fleets and will still be able to operate and distribute their products.
And consider this…
When reports have indicated that the vaping industry has ‘decimated’ the cigarette industry, it is certainly in the interests of big tobacco to do all they can to claw back some leverage.
The ‘vape mail ban’ unfairly disadvantages the ‘little guy,’ allowing big-name players to continue seeing similar and sometimes more harmful products.
The Vape Mail Ban Smothers Small ‘Mom and Pop’ Shops
The ban isn’t just about being able to go online and order a bottle of your favorite juice. It goes far deeper than that.
We aren’t just talking about the convenience of click and order here. The vape mail ban may actually prevent vapers from going to a bricks-and-mortar store in the absence of online ordering.
Vape shops receive their supplies through the mail too! As quoted in the AVA letter: –
“We rely on companies like FedEx to stock our store shelves and meet customer demand. These restrictions will inevitably result in unintended, but severe, consequences for us, our businesses, our families, former cigarette smokers, and those trying to quit smoking.”
If the products can’t be obtained, these stores may struggle to survive. While USPS has suggested that they will be able to grant exemptions, these will not be discussed until the ban is implemented.
Public Health is Threatened
It really is as simple as this.
Vaping saves lives. Compared to smoking, certain (official and unbiased) agencies have been quoted as saying vaping is up to 95% safer!
It has been proven by data going back decades that smoking tobacco is extremely harmful. The CDC’s own website gives some fast facts, such as: –
- Smoking harms every organ in the body
- Cigarette smoking remains the leading cause of death in the USA
- In the US, 34.1 million people smoke cigarettes.
Stop for a moment and consider that last figure.
- Million. People.
In the last year alone, over 500,000 Americans have died because of smoking. Any technology that reduces this figure could only be seen as a good thing.
Refusing to deliver that technology when it is obvious that it saves lives is dangerous, whichever way you cut it. It certainly does nothing to ‘increase public health’.
FedEx Ships Other, More Dangerous, Products
While discussing public health, one has to question the motivation for this decision. Again, to quote from the letter: –
“Another example of corporations being swayed by big lobbying dollars, rather than looking at the big picture”
Considering that FedEx still ships firearms and has been indicted for shipping illegal pharmaceuticals, both of which could be considered ‘questionable’ in their own right, it seems to make little sense that they would occupy the moral high ground when refusing to transport a product that helps people.
In today’s world, ‘follow the money’ seems to be a recurring theme. The latest in the vape mail ban saga holds little logic, aside from pandering to elements of society that are uneducated in the benefits of vaping. Simply put, vaping is a safer choice than smoking. When you consider that there is documented proof that restricting vaping leads to worse health outcomes, the ban should be reversed or heavily reviewed. Combine this with the fact that it affects people’s livelihoods economically, and there is little justification for it to be regarded as a ‘good’ idea.