Study Finds Regular JUUL Users Are Largely Made Up Of Adults Quitting Cigarettes

Steve Birr | Vice Reporter

A recent survey is bolstering the image of the JUUL vape pen as a harm reduction tool, showing regular users are largely former smokers who have used the device to quit.

The Centre for Substance Use Research (CSUR), a research group based in the U.K., published results on June 28 from a voluntary survey investigating the makeup of the current population of JUUL users. The survey, commissioned by JUUL Labs., involved 18,799 U.S. adults who purchased a JUUL vape device online, reported Reason.

Roughly 35 percent of the 89,000 JUUL users over the age of 21 who received an invitation to the survey ultimately participated. CSUR researchers found that roughly 64.3 percent of 11,689 respondents who were active smokers when they purchased a JUUL have subsequently quit smoking. (RELATED: Royal College Of Physicians Says Failing To Support Alternatives For Smokers Is ‘As Negligent As Not Treating Cancer’)

Nearly 50 percent of participants said they were able to quit immediately after purchasing a JUUL device.

“Our mission is to eliminate cigarette smoking in the world by providing adult smokers with a true alternative to cigarettes,” Kevin Burns, CEO of JUUL Labs, said in a statement. “Tobacco smoking is still the leading preventable cause of death and disease in the U.S. Vapor technology offers the potential to improve the lives of adult smokers. We remain steadfast in our commitment to fund clinical and behavioral research to add to the growing body of scientific evidence regarding vapor technology.”

A minority of participants who previously smoked but were not smoking when they purchased a JUUL now identified as current smokers, representing 1.9 percent of all survey participants. Only 55, or 0.3 percent, of the nearly 19,000 users surveyed said they became regular smokers after using the JUUL device.

JUUL devices are light and slim, resembling the feel of a cigarette, and deliver a large concentration of nicotine. The devices are solely intended for adult smokers trying to quit combustible tobacco, but critics fear the devices could be hooking a new generation of kids on tobacco.

Vaping advocates agree the products should be kept out of the hands of underage users, however, data on teen use simply does not justify the hysteria. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show both youth and adult smoking rates are sitting at historic lows, while the rate of teens experimenting with vapor products remained static in 2017.

Data from Nielsen shows JUUL accounts for roughly 68 percent of sales in the e-cigarette retail market, aiding a drop in sales for combustible cigarettes, which remain the number one cause of preventable death worldwide.

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