England may have failed to win the World cup (again) but at least they have some good news to cheer them up, the JUUL e-cigarette has finally made its UK debut. It’s hard to believe that the JUUL is only just now making its official appearance in Britain when we Yanks have been enjoying it for years now. The fact is that the JUUL was only officially available in America until this year.
It made its debut in Israel back in May, and controversy followed. Now JUUL has crossed the pond to give Brits a taste of what Americans have been enjoying for the past few years. Will the JUUL go global? Is this their first step towards world domination? Will the British start spelling it JOULL? Answers to at least two of these questions in the article.
What Took so Long?
So why is JUUL just making its official debut in the UK now? That is because the EU (European Union) Tobacco Products Directive sets limits on the amount of nicotine in e-liquid at 20 mg/mL. Standard JUUL pods are a comparatively massive 59 mg/mL. However, JUUL will soon be rolling out lower strength JUUL pods at 30 – 40 mg/mL, that’s still twice the limit set by the EU.
Since JUUL isn’t planning on breaking into the UK market by breaking their laws, the JUUL pods sold there comply with their regulations. Will that be good enough for British vapers? It seems that way, according to ASH (Action on Smoking and Health). Less than 10% of European vapers use e-liquid containing more than 19 mg/mL. So, the lower nicotine levels shouldn’t cause much concern.
How Big is Vaping in the UK?
Or to put it another way, are there enough vapers in the UK to make the JUUL a success? Well, the good news is that there are currently about 2.9 million vapers in the UK, most of whom have never tried the JUUL and will now get the chance to do so. The less good news is that e-cig use seems to have plateaued since 2013, so it doesn’t seem like vaping is on the rise like it is in other countries.
There is some encouraging news here, however, because the UK seems to have a generally positive attitude about vaping, especially when compared to the use of regular cigarettes. Cigarette smoking has declined sharply in the UK, and many authorities, including Public Health England, believe that e-cigarettes have played a role in that decline. Furthermore, Deborah Arnott, the chief executive of ASH has stated that, “It’s very important smokers realise that vaping is much, much less harmful than smoking”.
The reason she made this statement is that, currently, 26% of people in the UK believe that vaping is just as, or more, harmful than smoking, while only 13% believe that it is less harmful. The message from experts in the field of smoking and tobacco addiction is that the people who both smoke and vape should switch to vaping exclusively, because it is much less harmful than smoking.
JUUL’s Commercial Prospects in the UK
There are 2.9 million potential new customers in the UK, so that’s good, but JUUL might have concerns that those numbers are not increasing. They may be optimistic that the introduction of the JUUL might change that, but it will still be a challenge. The main reason is that open pod systems are more popular than closed pod systems. Open pod systems are the vaporizers that allow you to refill the tank with any e-liquid you want, examples of these are vape mods and e-cigarettes like the KandyPens Rubi.
Closed pod systems are the vaporizers that use pre-filled pods that cannot be refilled. Examples of this include—you guessed it—the JUUL. The gap between sales of the two systems has been widening since 2011, it’s unlikely that the JUUL alone can close that gap, but it doesn’t need to in order to be successful. After all, JUUL has pretty much taken over the US e-cigarette industry because of its convenience and ease of use, qualities that everyone, everywhere appreciates.
Where Does JUUL Go Next?
The JUUL will be starting small, their e-cig and its pods will be sold in 250 vape shops across the UK, though that number will likely increase eventually. Should they become the dominant e-cig brand across that region, they have the rest of Europe to conquer—apparently, France, Germany, and Italy are in JUUL’s sights—and of course, the potentially huge market in Asia.
None of this will be easy, of course, since the regulations and requirements for vaping are different in each country. JUUL will likely have to keep adjusting their formula if they want to make commercial inroads in new regions of the world. However, JUUL has the strong reputation and the quality to launch a global expansion of the JUUL brand into new global markets.