A proposed change to the US Postal Service’s rules for mailing electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) could have a significant impact on shippers who use USPS to ship e-cigarettes and e-liquid.
USPS plans to revise its Publication 52
, Hazardous, Restricted, and Perishable Mail,
to expand mailability restrictions for cigarettes to cover all ENDS.
The Preventing Online Sales of E-Cigarettes to Children Act was enacted in December 2020. The law adds ENDS to the definition of “cigarettes” subject to regulation under the Jenkins Act.
Because USPS relies on that definition of “cigarettes” to determine mailability, they must now update their regulations to ensure that ENDS are subject to the same mailability restrictions and exceptions.
Definition of ENDS
One thing to note in the definition of electronic nicotine delivery system is that not all of them contain nicotine
. Under US law, an ENDS is "any electronic device that, through an aerosolized solution, delivers nicotine, flavor, or any other substance to the user inhaling from the device."
Restrictions on mailing ENDS would also apply to “any component, liquid, part, or accessory of an ENDS, regardless of whether sold separately from the device.”
Hazmat Considerations for ENDS
Most e-cigarettes (i.e., vape pens, vapes, e-hookahs, etc.) are powered by a rechargeable lithium battery. Lithium batteries are regulated as a miscellaneous hazardous material in transportation.
To ship lithium batteries by ground, air, or vessel using carriers like FedEx, UPS, etc., shippers must comply with the 49 CFR, IATA DGR, and/or IMDG Code regulations, respectively. That includes providing required hazmat training
to employees who prepare and handle shipments.
US DOT requires training for hazmat employees within 90 days of hire date, and once every three years
thereafter. For air
shippers, the IATA DGR requires recurrent hazmat training once every 24 months
Even when shipped in-equipment or with-equipment, lithium batteries are subject to stringent packaging, marking, labeling, and documentation standards that vary based on the mode of transportation.
In some cases, the "e-liquid" that gets vaporized (“vaped”) is also a regulated hazardous material. Some of these products may be regulated as toxic hazardous materials (i.e., Class 6), for instance.
Hazmat Limited Quantity and Lithium Battery Training
If you currently ship e-cigarette components or e-liquid by USPS, those shipments most likely qualify for relief as limited quantities under the 49 CFR Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR) when you ship them with a non-postal carrier.
, find courses that guide you through a step-by-step process to identify, package, mark, label, and document shipments of hazmat limited quantities or lithium batteries. Effective training is crucial to keep your shipments moving safely, on time, and in compliance.
Relevant hazmat training courses:
Shipping Limited Quantities & Consumer Commodities Online Course
Shipping Lithium Batteries Online Course
Comprehensive hazmat training:
Hazmat Ground Shipper Certification (DOT)
Hazmat Air Shipper Certification (IATA)