Juul has more nicotine than other e-cigarettes, experts find

Photo (c) Josie Desmarais - Getty Images

The popular brand has even more nicotine than traditional cigarettes

As e-cigarette-related deaths and illnesses affected dozens of consumers at the end of 2019, lawmakers tried doing their part to ensure that young people couldn’t continue the life-threatening habit. 

However, a new study conducted by researchers from the University of California at San Francisco found that products made by Juul have more nicotine than any other e-cigarette brand or even traditional cigarettes. 

“The comparison of cardiovascular health effects of Juul use with those of previous generation e-cigs and combusted cigarettes is an important issue for policymakers, including the FDA and comparable bodies outside the United States,” said researcher Matthew Springer, PhD. “Our findings show that the adverse effects of cigarettes on vascular endothelial function, which has been a known consequence of cigarette smoking since the 1990s, is not prevented using Juul.” 

Evaluating health effects

To see how Juul stacks up against other e-cigarette and regular cigarette brands, the researchers tested the vitals of rats after exposure to various kinds of nicotine. 

The researchers divided the rats into four testing groups and exposed them to vapor from e-cigarettes produced by Juul, traditional cigarette smoke, vapor from an e-cigarette with freebase nicotine, or clean air. The rats inhaled their substance 10 times over the course of five minutes, with each inhalation lasting two seconds. 

Following the trials, the researchers tested the rats’ blood vessel function and also collected blood samples to determine how their health was compromised, if at all, by their chosen supplement. 

The study revealed that inhaling Juul vapor was the most dangerous for the rats, as they were exposed to far more nicotine in that brand than in either the traditional cigarette or the other e-cigarette brand that was tested. 

Juul had five times more nicotine than a traditional cigarette and eight times as much nicotine as the other e-cigarette that was tested. 

The researchers explained that because of the varying nicotine levels in cigarettes and e-cigs, smokers who are new to e-cigarettes could try to keep their nicotine consumption the same on the device. However, this could become problematic for younger smokers who are new to the habit. The researchers urge consumers to understand how this could be detrimental to young people’s health. 

“...Adolescent non-smokers who are not familiar with the effects of nicotine may be more likely to chase higher levels of the drug’s effects,” said Dr. Springer. “The ease of over-consuming nicotine with Juul makes this likely, especially in light of reports of teenagers binging on Juul to the point of rapid addiction and behavioral consequences.” 

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