Tuesday, November 26, 2019

JUUL Delivers A Nicotine Kick

In an academic first, researchers from Penn State University have published an informative, straightforward and unexaggerated study about JUUL e-cigarettes.  Their work appears in JAMA Network Open.

Jessica Yingst and colleagues evaluated the blood nicotine absorption profile of six JUUL users.  The volunteers abstained from nicotine use for 14 hours prior to testing.  They then puffed on their own JUULs every 20 seconds for 10 minutes.  Yingst and colleagues collected blood samples.

Here are the results: “Among experienced users…, the [JUULs] delivered a mean
nicotine boost of 28.6 ng/mL in a mean of 8.7 minutes. This is higher and faster than the mean nicotine boost obtained from “cigalike”…devices (…1.8 ng/mL, 10 minutes) and advanced…devices (…10.8 ng/mL, 12.1 minutes) using the same puffing schedule.”

As seen in the following chart, there was considerable variation in the levels of blood nicotine achieved by the six participants, even though they were puffing at the same rate.  Two got big nicotine kicks, while the others had more modest elevations.  However, all volunteers had higher nicotine levels than seen with other e-cigarettes. 


Yingst concluded: “This study is the first, to our knowledge, to show that JUUL delivers a higher and faster boost in blood nicotine than has been reported for most other [vaping] devices… Compared with studies reporting the nicotine boost obtained after smoking 1 cigarette, this product’s nicotine delivery was similar.”

The Penn State study appears to be the first to present valuable information about e-cigarettes without demonizing the products.  One of the article’s only subjective statements – an accurate one -- is at its close: “The nicotine delivery capabilities of this [vapor] device may contribute to its addictiveness as well as its ability to compete with cigarettes for market share.”

JUULs are popular with smokers because they deliver the nicotine kick that smokers seek.  That is why the brand has dominant market share among U.S. adults.