JUUL has announced that they will start selling their JUUL pods in lower nicotine strengths. This news is welcomed by many since it offers users more options, which is always welcome when it comes to vaping. However, some are questioning JUUL’s motives for this new offer.
As many of you know, there has been a lot of public concern about teenagers and vaping, and the JUUL is at the center of this consternation. Is this new initiative partially a response to this outcry or is JUUL genuinely motivated to give users more options in nicotine strength? I take a closer look at all the possibilities in this article.
JUUL Pods New Nicotine Strength Options
Starting in August 2018, JUUL will roll out 3% strength nicotine JUUL pods for their JUUL e-cigarette, a reduction of 40% from their 5% nicotine strength pods. The San Francisco based company will start offering these reduced strength pods in August and expand their availability nationwide in October. Oddly enough, these reduced nicotine strength JUUL pods will only be available in the Virginia Tobacco and Mint flavors.
No explanation has been given as to why those are the only two flavors to get their nicotine levels reduced. There has also been no mention of whether any other flavors will eventually get the reduced strength options. Perhaps JUUL wants to see how well they sell before adding more flavors, we will just have to wait and see.
Possible Reasons for the Reduced Nicotine JUUL Pods
There are various theories as to why JUUL has made this decision now, let’s take a closer look at their possible reasons for this announcement.
Giving Users More Options
In their press release announcing the new nicotine strength options, JUUL states that “current adult smokers will have the option to choose different nicotine strengths to help them customize their switching journey.” This is a good reason because the option to choose their nicotine level is one of the reasons some people switch to vaping from smoking.
The ability to gradually reduce their nicotine intake—and dependence—helps to wean former smokers off of cigarettes. The lack of nicotine options has been one of the criticisms of the otherwise successful JUUL e-cigarette. It is something that many of the JUUL alternatives offer, particularly the open pod system e-cigarettes. They let users choose their own e-liquid, which comes in a variety of flavors and nicotine levels.
So, JUUL’s decision to offer the choice of lower nicotine levels in their e-liquids is a good thing. For the most part. The problem is that they are only offering these lower nicotine strengths in two of their current eight flavors. This means that anyone who prefers any of their other popular flavors are out of luck. Could this be because of the worry that their flavors attract teenagers to vaping? I explore that possibility next.
A Response to the Teens and Vaping Hysteria
JUUL is at the epicenter of the controversy of high school students taking up vaping. Regardless of whether JUUL is to blame or not, this announcement could be interpreted as their way of addressing the problem. One of the concerns about teenagers vaping is that the nicotine could affect their development.
This is a legitimate concern since the brains of teenagers are still developing, and a constant intake of nicotine could have negative effects. A research paper on the subject of teenagers and nicotine states that the use of the substance could have severe consequences on their thought processes, emotional control, and mental health in general.
So, JUUL reducing the nicotine strength in only two of their flavors could be seen as them attempting to avoid the perception that they are trying to attract teenagers to use their products, even indirectly. It is unknown whether this move will satisfy the people and politicians concerned about teenage vaping. Nonetheless, JUUL possibly feels that they have to be seen as doing something to curb this perceived epidemic, or else seem complicit in its spread.
An Expansion Into Other Foreign Markets
Yet another possible reason for the reduced nicotine JUUL pods could be that the company wants to enter other international markets. Surprisingly, JUULs were only available in America and Israel, but they have recently expanded their sales to include England and Scotland. EU regulations state that e-cigarettes cannot contain more than 1.7% nicotine, the JUUL pods sold in the UK comply with this regulation.
So, the manufacture of lower nicotine JUUL pods in America and the UK could be seen as an attempt to break into markets where higher nicotine levels are prohibited. Now that they have experience creating lower nicotine JUUL pods, perhaps JUUL could even start manufacturing pods with no nicotine, since nicotine in e-cigarettes is banned in many Asian countries, and Asia is a potentially lucrative marketplace.
What Is Next For JUUL?
Of course, all of this is just speculation, there could be another reason entirely for this move, or a combination of many different reasons. Whatever the case may be, JUUL fans have another set of options to choose from, and that is a good thing regardless of the company’s motivation.
Even though JUUL controls a dominant 68% of the market share, upstarts like the open pod KandyPens Rubi offer a real challenge that they cannot ignore if they want to stay on top. Once the expansion of the lower nicotine levels begins in October, we will see if more nicotine level options will become the norm for JUUL, or if this is just a PR response to a public furor. Time will tell.