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UK's Vapemail Ban

UK's Vapemail Ban

Following the government banning the carriage of vape products by the US Postal Service (USPS), a number of courier companies announced they would be joining the ban on shipping devices and e-liquids too. A number of British vapers announced they were experiencing problems shipping products in and out of the UK with a well-known company – its response to Planet of the Vapes indicates an unjustifiable stealth ban.

The 2021 Omnibus Appropriations Bill(1) banned USPS shipments of vape products, coming into effect this week. The American Vaping Association called the wording of the bill “sloppy” and advised businesses to look to other providers – but the options have narrowed by the week(2).

John Dunne, Director General at the UK Vaping Industry Association(3), told Planet of the Vapes that the supply chain is a global one, and “in the EU too, we are hearing of vaping businesses being turned away from major carriers. The potential impact on public health is grave, as so many people are relying on shipped goods as a lifeline during the pandemic.”

Recently, we relayed how British businesses were experiencing problems(4) shipping within the United Kingdom and Europe.

A number of vapers have been complaining over the last weekend of packages being opened, returned, or refused to be accepted for shipping by DHL. Planet of the Vapes looked at the conditions of service and contacted DHL UK.

What you can’t send with DHL

DHL says: “Please note that the prohibited items listed below apply to parcels being sent from and within the United Kingdom. For international carriage there may be additional prohibited items specified by the country of destination.”

The following items will NOT be accepted for carriage by DHL. Shipment of any prohibited item(s) shall be considered a material breach of our Terms and Conditions of Carriage and DHL shall hold no liability for any prohibited item(s), which are subsequently damaged or lost whilst in our control. You shall remain fully liable to DHL for any losses caused to DHL as a consequence of your shipping of a Prohibited Item in accordance with our Terms and Conditions of Carriage.”

And, listed under “Alcohol, cigarettes and narcotics” is:

Electronic cigarettes and pipes, e-hookahs, e-cigars and vape pens
including any device that, through an aerosolised solution, delivers nicotine, flavour, or any other inhalable substance(5)

We sought clarification from DHL and asked them if vape products are now banned for shipments within the UK and what the justification was for this.

We informed DHL that the UK government fully supports vaping as a safer alternative to smoking, and that the evidence from Public health England(6), the Royal College of GPs and Cancer Research UK(7), and the NHS(8) is overwhelming.

DHL refused to provide an official statement, but someone who wished to remain non-attributable confirmed that the ban applies to all UK consumers trying to send vape related products on an ad-hoc basis. At this moment in time, it appears business account holders will remain unaffected.

While the number of vapers who might wish to use a service like this remains small, the fact that a ban is in place is out of step with the United Kingdom’s forward thinking on tobacco harm reduction.

Have you experienced problems with any other courier company? Let us know.


  1. FY 2021 Omnibus Appropriations Bill - https://www.ncsl.org/ncsl-in-dc/publications-and-resources/fy-2021-omnibus-appropriations-bill.aspx

  2. UPS To Block Vape Deliveries - https://www.planetofthevapes.co.uk/news/vaping-news/2021-02-02_ups-to-block-vape-deliveries.html

  3. UK Vaping Industry Association - www.ukvia.co.uk

  4. Vaping Industry condemns US ‘Vape Mail’ ban - https://www.planetofthevapes.co.uk/news/vaping-news/2021-03-09_vaping-industry-condemns-us-vape-mail-ban.html

  5. What you can and can’t send - https://parcel.dhl.co.uk/what-you-can-and-cant-send/

  6. Public health England update - https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/vaping-in-england-evidence-update-february-2021

  7. RCGP and CRUK joint position statement - https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/health-professional/awareness-and-prevention/e-cigarette-hub-information-for-health-professionals/e-cigarette-statement

  8. NHS quit advice - https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/quit-smoking/using-e-cigarettes-to-stop-smoking/

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