Interested parties will have 30 days to comment on the U.S. Postal Service rules for mailing electronic nicotine-delivery systems (ENDS). The USPS posted the rules on Wednesday and they were published in the Federal Register today. Comments must be submitted by March 22. The rules will presumably go into effect on March 27.
“The Postal Service proposes to revise Publication 52, Hazardous, Restricted, and Perishable Mail, to incorporate new statutory restrictions on the mailing of electronic nicotine delivery systems,” the listing reads. “Such items would be subject to the same prohibition as cigarettes and smokeless tobacco, subject to many of the same exceptions.”
The Preventing Online Sales of E-Cigarettes to Children Act, which placed ENDS under the PACT Act, was enacted on December 27, 2020 and becomes effective 90 days after enactment (March 27, 2021). The USPO rule states that the agency will only mail ENDS products under narrowly defined circumstances:
Noncontiguous States: intrastate shipments within Alaska or Hawaii;
Business/Regulatory Purposes: shipments transmitted between verified and authorized tobacco industry businesses for business purposes, or between such businesses and federal or state agencies for regulatory purposes;
Certain Individuals: lightweight shipments mailed between adult individuals, limited to 10 per 30-day period;
Consumer Testing: limited shipments of cigarettes sent by verified and authorized manufacturers to adult smokers for consumer testing purposes;
Public Health: limited shipments by federal agencies for public health purposes under similar rules applied to manufacturers conducting consumer testing.
Many business were unsure if B2B mailing would be allowed. The unpublished rules say they will be allowed. According to Azim Chowdhury, a partner at Keller and Heckman, the PACT Act has historically exempted businesses-to-business deliveries from the USPS ban.
Specifically, the USPS ban does not extend to tobacco products mailed only for business purposes between legally operating businesses that have all applicable state and federal government licenses or permits and are engaged in tobacco product manufacturing, distribution, wholesale, export, import, testing, investigation, or research.
“Companies seeking to use USPS for business-to-business deliveries must first submit an application to the USPS Pricing and Classification Service Center and comply with several other shipping, labeling, and delivery requirements,” said Chowdhury.