In the United States, a single manufacturer with only one e-cigarette model has a net monopoly of the market. We are talking about the famous Juul pods, which in recent times we hear more and more also in Europe.
Why did a single electronic cigarette come to control the entire US market? What is the Juul, and how does it differ from the e-cig we are all used to?
The Juul electronic cigarette
The Juul electronic cigarette was born from an idea of Adam Bowen and his friend James Monsess, founders of Juul Labs, the startup that gave life to the entire project.
The two, as heavy smokers they were, in 2015 began to envision e-cigarette technology that could help as many people as possible to quit smoking.
For this to happen, the new e-cig would have to be particularly attractive to the general public. From this, in fact, the essential features that have made the Juul so popular:
- Its extreme simplicity of use
- The only model on the market
- The possibility of reduced choice
- The absolute lack of maintenance
Difference with the traditional electronic cigarette
To see a Juul it doesn’t even look like an electronic cigarette: to the eye it would rather look like a USB stick, not only for its shape and size (about 9 cm long and 1.5 cm wide), but also for its weight.
Its design is what is called “minimal”. Completely different from a traditional e-cig, the Juul does not show divisions between batteries, atomizers, drip tips and so on, unless you want to disassemble it, of course.
With the Juul there is no need for maintenance like with any other vaporizer. Simply change the cartridges once they are exhausted. So it will not be necessary to extricate yourself from the thousands of information that require a long attention and a certain knowledge of the classic vape. For the Juul you cannot choose a resistance wire instead of another, change the atomizer, or prepare a liquid at home.
On the surface, this lack of customization would seem a flaw, but Juul has made this a strength and a very specific marketing choice.
In fact, the simplicity of the Juul has been the key to its success, and has earned it thousands and thousands of users.
No accessories, apart from a USB base for recharging and cartridges, and no maintenance: even many home vapers are starting to give in to these comforts!
What are Juul Pods
If with the usual electronic cigarette you can create always new combinations of aromas, with Juul you have the so-called Juul Pods.
These are proprietary ready-to-use cartridges, already pre-filled with liquid: these small refills are simply inserted into the device and can be used immediately; then, when the liquid in the cartridge is finished, the pod will be thrown away and replaced with a new one to continue vaping.
Juul Pods have been launched on the market so far in four flavor variants (mint, cream, virginia tobacco and mango), available with a fixed amount of nicotine. The market, however, is always evolving and it is not to be excluded that in the future the range of tastes will expand and that the dose of nicotine can be customized!
Juul e-cigarette marketing and market
The popularity of the Juul in America has led to the creation of a new term, which has joined the more common “vaping”: “juuling“, the practice of vaping with the Juul.
Juuling has conquered about 70% of US vapers and has become a social phenomenon that should not be underestimated. As some of the company’s advertisements say, smoking Juul has now become “cool” for American culture.
Thanks to its peculiar marketing campaigns, Juul Labs has become famous and infamous in America. In the space of three years it has seen its popularity grow at a rate of 600-700% per year, reaching, at the end of 2018, 70% of the e-cigarette market share in the USA.
Is the Juul e-cigarette bad for you?
Let’s clarify one thing immediately: the Juul is, in all respects, an electronic cigarette equal to the others. Despite multiple studies, no scientific evidence has ever shown that the practice of vaping, in itself, has harmful effects on health, or that electronic cigarettes are harmful tout court.
There are only two aspects of the Juul that differentiate it from classic e-cigs, related to nicotine.
1) Amount of nicotine
Each type of cigarette has a certain amount of nicotine, which is around 0.6-0.8 mg for each. So, the quantities of nicotine that you take by vaping the Juul are a little higher than the quantity contained in traditional e-cigs.
However, on the European market, according to an EU law, the nicotine contained in the Juul refills can be a maximum of 20 mg.
2) Nicotine salts
The Juul conveys nicotine in a different way from that of classic e-cigs. The refills of Juul, in fact, use the so-called saline nicotine, better known as “nicotine salts”.
Vaping a liquid with saline nicotine does not feel the hit in the throat and this could lead to not immediately realizing that you are absorbing more nicotine than traditional electronic cigarettes.