Juul's Impact on the Vaping Industry
Now worth $15 billion, it’s pretty clear that JUUL is thriving in the vaping industry. This company singlehandedly revolutionized the way in which we vape, and more and more cigarette smokers are throwing out their packs in favor of this technology each month. Because e-cigarettes are considered nicotine replacement products, we should be celebrating this company’s massive success, right?
Well, not so fast. Vape industry experts are actually concerned about the impact that this enormous company has on the overall e-cig market. After all, the company isn’t exactly free of its share of controversy. Besides, it’s highly likely that there are lots of better alternatives to JUUL out there for people who want an easy, affordable and uniquely satisfying way to satisfy their nicotine cravings after giving up the tobacco.
To better understand the unique impact that JUUL has had on our industry, we have to start at the beginning.
Who is JUUL, Anyway?
JUUL is a company that belongs to Pax Labs, a vaping company that was founded in 2007, right around the time when e-cigarettes began to become popular in the mainstream. JUUL was first introduced in 2015, hitting the mainstream market in 2017.
The founders of JUUL patented their product as well as nicotine salts, the type of nicotine that’s used in their e-cigarettes. Nicotine salts are different from freebase nicotine, the type of nicotine that was used in all other e-cigarettes and e-liquids prior to their discovery. Nicotine salts are derived from the tobacco plant, and they’re not chemically modified like freebase nicotine. They are blended with benzoic acid which eliminates the harshness that a user may experience while they inhale the vapor. Nicotine salts are also extremely potent compared to freebase nicotine. While freebase nicotine doesn’t provide the nicotine buzz that cigarette smokers are used to, nicotine salts do, and within just five minutes or so.
Another thing that makes them unique is that it’s an incredibly user-friendly and portable device. Before JUUL came around, vapers had to go with weak low-wattage e-cigarettes or large, fairly complicated box mod systems in order to satisfy their nicotine needs. JUUL is a low-wattage device, but its technology allows it to provide users with a heavy dose of nicotine regardless of the output.
Any vaper knows how successful the company has become in two short years. Today, JUUL outsells every other vaping system that’s on the market. But, does that mean that it’s helping the industry overall?
JUUL’s Impact on the Way We Vape
Because of JUUL’s massive success, the vaping industry has never been the same since its launch. Practically overnight, established vape brands began producing their own versions of this incredibly popular product. Suddenly, a large number of experienced vapers abandoned their box mod setups that utilized freebase nicotine for salt-based e-liquids and pod mod systems. Today’s vapers expect more travel-friendly devices and a more potent nicotine experience. Still, box mods remain popular among a certain kind of vape enthusiast. This is mainly because of the fact that large box mod systems allow users to practice cloud chasing, an activity that involves exhaling massive billows of vapor that result from the unique technology behind these more advanced vaping devices.
JUUL in the News: Is This Industry Superstar Actually Harming the Industry?
If you follow vaping news, you know that JUUL has experienced more than its share of controversy since day one. The main issue with this product is that it’s become extremely popular among adolescents. Because JUUL systems are small enough to fit into a pocket, it’s been reported that an alarming number of high school students across the country are using these devices in and out of class. The FDA is concerned that these students don’t consider the fact that they’re consuming a high amount of nicotine, primarily because of the fact that the JUUL pods that are used with the devices come in appealing flavors such as mango, mixed fruit and crème brulee.
The FDA famously launched an investigation into JUUL’s manufacturing practices in an effort to create stricter guidelines in order to prevent the product from attracting more youth. The FDA has put an enormous amount of pressure on the company to find a way to stop minors from consuming their products. The FDA also seized the company’s marketing strategies in order to determine whether or not the company was intentionally trying to sell its products to minors.
In November of 2018, JUUL reached a decision at the mercy of the FDA. They decided to stop selling flavored JUUL pods to retail stores, making it so that those who wished to have flavors besides traditional tobacco and menthol had to order from the company’s website. The problem, however, is that it’s extremely easy for teenagers to purchase flavored pods on the company’s website as there’s no real way to prevent consumers from lying about their age before making a purchase.
The fact that this company largely appeals to minors can’t be denied. It’s been reported that almost half of those who follow JUUL on social media are minors, with many being as young as 13. Therefore, it’s safe to say that the company has given the vaping industry as a whole a bad name. Because of JUUL’s possible youth-oriented marketing tactics, the entire industry is under fire like never before.
In San Francisco, legislators are attempting to ban the sales of JUUL and other e-cigarette products in an effort to stop minors from picking up the habit. It’s interesting to note that the company’s home base is in San Francisco. And, as expected, the company is fighting back, mainly through lobbying tactics.
Meanwhile, North Carolina has attempted to sue the company for misleading claims regarding the nature of electronic cigarettes. The complaint is that the company understates the seriously addictive nature of their products.
If enough powerful forces team up against JUUL, it’s not hard to imagine that the entire industry will potentially go down with them. Because of JUUL’s huge popularity, the FDA is at war with the industry as a whole despite the fact that no other vaping company has invested nearly as much in marketing their products. Besides, most vaping companies market their products to adult smokers, not teenagers.
Marlboro’s Recent Involvement
At the end of 2018, Altria, Marlboro’s parent company, invested a stunning $12.8 billion into JUUL. Part of the tradeoff was that JUUL products could now be marketed alongside Marlboro cigarettes. In case you’ve been wondering why JUUL is the only e-cig company you’ll see in most convenience stores and drug stores, there’s your answer.
To put it simply, this isn’t good news. Marlboro has a long history of deceptive marketing strategies and a lack of concern for public health. The fact that its parent company now has such a strong hold over JUUL should concern anyone who calls themselves a vape enthusiast. And, of course, this new acquisition further sinks the general vaping industry’s reputation. After all, how can former smokers really trust a product that’s heavily backed by, well, a cigarette company?
Why Vapers Might Be Better Off Going with Another Company
If you’re a vaper who has found unparalleled satisfaction with JUUL, we’re obviously not going to fault you. We get it. However, there are a few reasons why we think that you should seriously consider switching to another vaping brand.
For one thing, JUUL products are more expensive than most other vaping products. There are lots of companies producing their own pod systems and salt nic e-liquids for far more affordable prices. Since vaping is, for better or worse, habit-forming, it should be a no-brainer that going with a less expensive brand is a good call.
Another thing is that, quite simply, JUUL’s products are subpar when compared to the hardware and e-liquid products from more established brands. JUUL’s batteries, for instance, aren’t nearly as powerful as many of the others that are used in competitors’ pod systems. Also, JUUL’s selection of pod flavors leaves a bit to be desired. And, the devices aren’t nearly as customizable as many of the others that are on the market today.
Besides, with the FDA at the company’s throat, it’s hard to say whether or not JUUL will be around forever. So, you might want to start exploring other options sooner than later.
Lastly, now that JUUL has been backed by Marlboro’s parent company, it’s hard to believe that we can really trust the company like we once did.
The Present and the Future…
JUUL has indeed revolutionized the vaping industry as we know it, but that’s not necessarily a good thing. Yes, this incredible invention has led to a wide array of more user-friendly, satisfying vaping products that former smokers can use to satisfy their nicotine-related needs. But the company has definitely shed a bad light on the vaping industry as a whole.