A crippling new federal tax on safer nicotine products and low-risk alternatives to smoking is being proposed as part of the funding bill for President Biden’s “Build Back Better” plan. This tax would severely limit Americans’ access to safer alternatives and would only punish people who are trying to quit smoking by making all nicotine and smoke-free tobacco products unaffordable.
Below is a table showing the devastating effects of this proposed tax on nicotine (TFN, synthetic, and tobacco-derrived), and how it would affect bottled e-liquids. These figures are just the extra taxes you’ll be paying and don’t include the cost of the e-liquid.
The PACT Act requires online retailers to collect state/local taxes before shipping orders, register with the federal government, and provide detailed information on a monthly basis to the tax department of each state it ships too – including the names and addresses of each customer.
While this is not an all-out ban on online sales, most small vapor businesses do not have the infrastructure or ability to comply with these rigorous requirements. Penalties for not complying with the PACT Act include up to three years in prison.
For the few who do, it would raise the cost of purchasing vapor products for people who depend on being able to have safer alternatives delivered to their door by requiring signature on delivery.
What happens to online purchases? Banning USPS from shipping vapor products will force companies to use private carriers like FedEx and UPS. In addition to these carriers being more expensive than USPS, they also do not deliver mail to all Americans. Private carriers routinely outsource deliveries to rural areas or neighborhoods they deem “dangerous” to USPS in order to cut costs. Removing USPS as an option means that some people will have no way of purchasing vapor products. For everyone else, it means they will pay higher prices and they’ll be forced to break social distancing rules because a signature will be required on delivery. Additionally, private carriers could eventually cave to political pressures and also ban the shipment of vapor products.
Can’t we just purchase in stores instead? Not all consumers of vapor products have access to brick and mortar stores due to their health, disabilities, or even their location. And with PMTA enforcement around the corner, the selection of products deemed legal by the government will be so small that many stores won’t be able to survive.
Meanwhile, cigarettes will remain the most visible and widely accessible tobacco product in the history of the world.
Why are they doing this? The supporters of this bill argue that preventing the shipment of vapor products will prevent teens from getting their hands on it, and reduce youth usage. What they don’t tell you is that less than 6% of youth report buying vapor products online, according to the CDC’s 2018 National Youth Tobacco Survey. Most young people report getting vapor products and other age-restricted products from friends, family, and informal sources–sources that are about to become much more popular after September.