The American e-vapor industry faces a major challenge that has nothing to do with selling to minors, concerns over health risks and black-market knockoffs. It has to do with putting its products in the hands of consumers.
On Thursday, the U.S. Postal Service’s ban on the shipping of all vaping products, which was mandated by Congress late last year, took effect. The Postal Service’s exit, combined with existing delivery bans by FedEx Corp. (NYSE:FDX), UPS Inc. (NYSE:UPS) and DHL eCommerce Solutions, the e-commerce unit of German company Deutsche Post DHL (OTC US: DPSGY), leaves the vaping industry with limited options to get its goods to market.
The prohibitions imposed by the four carriers affect online sales to consumers as well as business-to-business transactions between manufacturers, distributors and retailers. There are about 10 million regular vapers in the U.S., according to the American Vaping Association (AVA), a pro-vaping advocacy organization that receives funding from the industry. Between 2.5 million and 3.5 million consumers order vaping products online, the group estimates. It has no data on the size of B2B transactions.