Not all e-cigarettes created equal, as new JUUL nicotine study shows the brand can deliver more nicotine faster than most other e-cigarettes studied

Previous research has studied other brands of e-cigarettes which also have high liquid nicotine concentrations. That work shows that many brands actually deliver very little nicotine to the user.

In this study, the team profiled the JUUL brand and its nicotine delivery capabilities. The brand has a high concentration of nicotine in its pods, and it also dominates the American e-cigarette market at almost 75 percent.

“The JUUL users we studied obtained blood nicotine concentrations almost three times as high as most of the e-cigarette users we previously studied,” first author and researcher Jessica Yingst of the Penn State College of Medicine said in a press release. “JUUL’s nicotine delivery is very similar to that of cigarettes.”

The JUUL nicotine study findings hold particular significance in light of other recent research. This other work seems to indicate that nicotine may worsen any negative effects vaping has on heart health.

JUUL nicotine study

In the study, six regular JUUL users vaped every 20 seconds for ten minutes: 30 puffs total. He team collected blood at set intervals both during and after the vape session.

The scientists analyzed how much nicotine was in the participants’ blood each time using liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry. They also asked the vapers before and after to rate their withdrawal symptoms and other subjective effects such as anxiety and craving.

The participants in the JUUL nicotine study also completed a questionnaire created to measure e-cigarette addiction. Compared to over 3,000 long-term, experienced users of other brands, JUUL users who completed the survey reported higher nicotine dependence. This cuts against the idea that e-cigarettes are less addictive than traditional cigarettes.

“In previous studies, we found that e-cigarette users were less addicted than smokers,” study co-author and public health professor Jonathan Foulds said in a press release. “However, the high nicotine delivery of the product and the scores on this study suggest that JUUL is probably as addictive as cigarettes.”

Takeaways: More nicotine faster

The team argues that non-smokers should not try e-cigarettes specifically because of this high addiction potential. However, they emphasize that they still could offer a way for smokers to consume nicotine in a less harmful way.

“In previous work, we determined that JUUL delivered lower levels of some harmful chemicals than cigarettes and even some other e-cigarettes,” said study co-author John Richie, a professor of public health sciences.

“This type of product is likely addictive and is attractive to teenagers,” Foulds said. “But those same qualities that make it addictive may enable it to help adult smokers switch to a much less harmful form of nicotine consumption.”

Research prior to the JUUL nicotine study that is also recent has concluded that teen vaping does not lead to smoking. This could reduce the public health concerns officials feel as they cope with fears surrounding e-cigarettes and high levels of nicotine.