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U.S. Federal Express e-cigarette mail ban raises antitrust concerns

2021/07/20|Knowledge

More than 400 owners of independent e-cigarette stores in the United States have urged FedEx to lift its ban on the transportation of e-cigarette products. Greg Conley, President of the American electronic cigarette Association (AVA), drafted a letter to Fredrick Smith, chairman and CEO of FedEx, in which he pointed out that the ban on the transportation of electronic cigarettes was a "misguided and unnecessary" policy, It prevents flammable and explosive smokers from getting low-risk products that can help them quit smoking. The signers include representatives from all aspects of the e-cigarette industry.

"It also threatens thousands of small businesses like us that rely on regular carriers like FedEx to deliver the products we stock every day," the letter said“ Please reconsider this disastrous decision, which will continue another generation of smoking related deaths - especially in poor communities. "

The letter also accused FedEx of continuing to ship e-cigarette products to a few large manufacturers in the e-cigarette industry. The letter said that FedEx "picked winners and losers" in the e-cigarette industry, saying that this practice discriminated against small businesses and caused serious anti-monopoly problems.

"In addition to hypocrisy, antitrust concerns and the obvious negative impact on marginal communities, we have also noticed that companies like you are inconsistent in transport policies." For example, it gave us the impression that, ironically, FedEx banned the transportation of our legal, life-saving and regulated products, but they failed to identify and prevent the company from transporting its own illicit drugs - products that have proved to have disastrous consequences for our country, "the letter said“ Moreover, although we as a whole have not expressed our position on the second amendment, it seems strange that you continue to transport guns and prohibit us from storing legitimate products on the shelves of our stores. "

The U.S. Congress has imposed new restrictions on the transportation of electronic nicotine delivery system (ends) through the U.S. Postal Service (USPS), including ends products in the updated provisions of the prevention of all cigarette trafficking Act (PACT) of 2009. Now ends will be subject to the same shipping laws as combustible tobacco.

The pact act has traditionally exempted the USPS ban on business to business delivery. Specifically, the USPS ban does not extend to tobacco products that are mailed between legally operating enterprises for commercial purposes only, which have all applicable state and federal government licenses or licenses and engage in the manufacture, distribution, wholesale, export, import, testing, investigation or research of tobacco products.

Although the legislation is aimed at nicotine e-cigarette products, the definition of the law is so broad that marijuana enterprises have to comply with it. This means that marijuana and CBD companies that sell, manufacture, or transport e-cigarettes or related components across states must comply with the pact act.

FedEx's rules are stricter than those of Congress. The company has banned the delivery of all e-cigarette products to businesses and adult consumers. The letter points out that FedEx's rules have a greater impact on small businesses than large companies with complex distribution networks.

"Because most e-cigarette retailers are small mom and pop stores, they do not have the ability to establish an internal distribution network like large tobacco companies," the letter said“ Therefore, the consequences of this decision are mainly borne by small independent e-cigarette stores and our customers. We rely on companies like FedEx to store our shelves and meet our customers' needs. These restrictions will inevitably have unexpected but serious consequences for us, for our businesses, for our families, for former smokers, and for people trying to quit smoking across the country. "

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