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Smoking products

Employees must follow federal rules, regulations

These packages from abroad contain cigarettes and were intercepted at an International Service Center.

The Postal Service wants employees to understand their role in administering federal laws that regulate the mailing of cigarettes, smokeless tobacco and electronic nicotine delivery systems.

The Prevent All Cigarette Trafficking (PACT) Act regulates the mailing of cigarettes and smokeless tobacco, while the Preventing Online Sales of E-Cigarettes to Children Act (POSECCA) regulates the delivery of electronic nicotine delivery systems through USPS.

The mailing standards related to the mailing of these products are explained in USPS Publication 52, Hazardous, Restricted, and Perishable Mail and stipulate such products are nonmailable in the international and military mailstreams.

The tobacco products prohibited by the PACT Act include cigarettes, “roll-your-own” tobacco materials and smokeless tobacco, such as chewing tobacco or snuff. Tobacco cigars are not covered by the PACT Act and are mailable.

These products are also generally nonmailable through domestic mail, except in limited circumstances, as described in Publication 52. These products are nonmailable and prohibited in the international and military mailstream.

The ban on electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) includes e-cigarettes, e-cigars, e-hookahs and similar devices — as well as separately packaged liquids, parts and components. Despite the name, ENDS are regulated regardless of whether they contain nicotine or are used with nicotine.

Postal Service employees are expected to take action — as described in Management Instruction PO-130-2021-2, Responding to Matter Nonmailable Under the PACT Act and POSECCA — to ensure the organization’s compliance with the requirements of the PACT Act and POSECCA.

If packages containing cigarettes, smokeless tobacco or ENDS are identified in the international or military mailstream, transfer the package to the Postal Inspection Service’s International Mail Security unit at the nearest International Service Center.

These packages should not be marked return to sender.

The Inspection Service also interdicts packages containing nonmailable cigarettes as they arrive from inbound international flights at the International Service Centers.

Employees who have questions should contact Product Classification or the Inspection Service’s International Mail Security team.