The makers of the popular electronic cigarette JUUL will soon offer disposable pods with reduced levels of nicotine, which they say will give smokers greater choice in their “journey to switching from cigarettes.”
Representatives for JUUL Labs., a vaping startup based in San Francisco, announced Thursday their plans to start selling pods containing 3 percent nicotine with limited availability beginning in August. The company currently only offers pods that are 5 percent nicotine, which is comparable to the nicotine content from roughly a pack of cigarettes, reports CNBC.
The 40 percent reduction in nicotine strength will only be available for their Virginia Tobacco and Mint flavors. The company says the reduced-nicotine pods will be widely available across the U.S. by October. (RELATED: Study Finds Regular JUUL Users Are Largely Made Up Of Adults Quitting Cigarettes)
“JUUL has enabled more than one million adult smokers to replace cigarettes, and we want to continue to offer meaningful options to adult smokers who want to end their relationship with combustible cigarettes,” Kevin Burns, CEO of JUUL Labs, said in a statement. “JUUL Labs wants to meet the needs and preferences of adult smokers who are on their journey to switching from cigarettes, and we hope the availability of different nicotine strengths will continue to allow adult smokers the ability to explore what is best for them.”
JUUL devices are light and slim, resembling the feel of a cigarette. The devices are solely intended for adult smokers trying to quit combustible tobacco, and judging by their explosive growth are proving popular with their intended audience.
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. (RELATED: Royal College Of Physicians Says Failing To Support Alternatives For Smokers Is ‘As Negligent As Not Treating Cancer’)
“JUUL’s success underscores the potential for disruptive technology to undermine U.S. tobacco’s reliable business algorithm,” Pamela Kaufman, an analyst for Morgan Stanley, recently told Bloomberg.
JUUL Labs., whose product is currently only available in the U.S. and Israel, appears to be looking to expand their reach. The company is reportedly raising $1.2 billion for a global launch, which would value JUUL Labs. at roughly $15 billion.
Tobacco’s impact on health is determined by the delivery method, which is combustion in the case of cigarettes. The vast majority of disease-causing chemicals are only released when burning cigarettes, according to Public Health England, an arm of the U.K.’s Department of Health. This is why e-cigarettes greatly reduce the health risks associated with smoking.
The American Cancer Society recently argued the use of harm reduction devices like a vape should be encouraged for smokers as a way to accelerate annual declines in the overall smoking rate.
Advocates of smoking alternatives say alarmism over vaping misses the larger point about e-cigarettes, namely that they are a harm reduction tool helping millions of smokers quit the deadly habit.
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