How Strong ARE JUUL Pods?!

We all know they’re strong.  But just HOW strong are JUUL Pods?

Everyone constantly talks about how dangerously concentrated the nicotine in JUUL Pods is, but how many truly understand their strength?

There’s a lot of misinformation and blurred lines on this topic, even from JUUL itself, which for the most part I consider a pretty honest and straightforward company.

How Strong Are JUUL Pods

Furthermore, how exactly does increasing nicotine concentration increase the inherent risks of the JUUL?  There are certainly other ways to introduce just as much nicotine into the body as the JUUL, even with lower strength options.

And WHY are JUUL Pods so strong in the first place?

We’ll delve into all these questions and more in this attempt to gain a true understanding of just how strong JUUL Pods are.

Claims VS Reality

I’d like to start by talking about how strong JUUL claims their pods are.

It clearly says right on the packaging that JUUL Pods contain 5% nicotine, but is this really the case? A little extra digging around google and you will find that JUUL Pods, in fact, contain 59mg/ml of nicotine, which is much closer to 6% nicotine by volume. 

Now, JUUL isn’t necessarily lying by saying JUUL pods are 5% nicotine, because the key difference is that they say they are 5% nicotine by weight.  I won’t get too in-depth about what the difference is here, as it gets pretty sciencey and mathematical pretty quickly.

JUUL Pods Percent by Weight

Investigating the Truth

For those interested in the chemistry and math behind this subtle difference, here’s a decent conversation about it on Reddit.  I say decent because although there is some good information in there, there is also A LOT of confusion and misinformation from people who think they understand chemistry and math.  You know, the Reddit usual.  A bunch of “experts”.   You’ve been warned.

The most accurate response I found there was the one by the username reynad_NaCl.  He seems to know his chemistry.  He even has the chemical formula for salt in his name (NaCl).  I applaud you, sir.

Anyway, the important thing to think about here is the fact that MOST E-juices on the market display their strength in terms of volume (mg/ml of nicotine) and NOT by percent of weight as JUUL does.

This makes things confusing, as it contrasts most peoples reference point to other juice strengths.

On JUUL’s older packaging, and on the packaging for some other countries where JUUL has been released, they DID/DO include the strength labeling as 59mg/ml.  But why not in the U.S.?  Is JUUL trying to trick their customers into thinking JUUL Pods aren’t quite as strong as they actually are? And if so, why?

JUUL Pod Percent By Volume

How Strong Are JUUL Pods Comparatively?

Now that we’ve cleared up the weight vs. volume nonsense, and we know that JUUL Pods contain 59mg/ml of nicotine, how does this compare to other salt nicotine E-juice on the market?

Well, JUUL Pods are DEFINITELY strong compared to most other options.  Although SOME E-juices match this strength, most max out at 50mg/ml of nicotine.

This makes JUUL Pods approximately 20% stronger than the competition.  That’s one hell of a buzz from just a few tiny puffs.

So, the next question is:

WHY are JUUL Pods so Strong?

Well, for a couple of reasonable reasons.

One of these is the fact that compared to other vapes, the JUUL has a fairly weak battery and thus does not vaporize as much E-juice per hit.

So although you may use much weaker E-juice in a stronger vape, the larger amount of vapor produced per hit could still contain as much nicotine as a JUUL hit that produced less, but stronger, vapor.

The second and primary reason, in my opinion, is that the high concentration of nicotine is what helps smokers use the JUUL to quit smoking so effectively.

There are also those that would argue that JUUL just wanted to make a super addictive product that would get users hooked and keep them coming back to buy JUUL Pods.

JUUL My Precious

Although this is a possible effect of the high strength of the JUUL, I truly don’t believe that this was JUUL’s primary goal.  I think that their aim was to produce as close a sensation to a cigarette as possible, (small puffs and ease of use) at a strength of nicotine that would satisfy smokers cravings and keep them away from tobacco.

And in this, they definitely succeeded.

However, that still doesn’t keep people from using this product in the wrong way (just for fun, and not to quit smoking) and potentially introducing themselves to a harmful habit.

How Strong JUUL Pods are Risky

As mentioned, E-juice of this strength can certainly carry a handful of risks.

The biggest risk they pose is to those that started using a JUUL with no prior nicotine addiction.  The high concentration of JUUL Pods increases the chance of these people developing a dependency on nicotine.

Once again, the JUUL was designed STRICTLY as a smoking cessation aid.  This is why I believe anyone that uses a JUUL for any other purpose is making a big mistake.

Risks to Ex-Smokers

Now, one of the most harmful aspects of cigarettes is not necessarily the nicotine itself, but all of the thousands of other harmful chemicals contained in cigarettes.

Vapes like the JUUL definitely cut out most of these extra chemicals, however, that doesn’t mean that nicotine itself doesn’t carry risks.

Nicotine is a stimulant, which can put extra stress on your heart by increasing your heart rate and blood pressure. (not good)

The JUUL may help you quit one habit (smoking) but you can then become just as addicted to the JUUL.  This means replacing a habit rather than truly quitting.

Second, the high concentration of JUUL Pods along with the higher absorption rate of nicotine salt paired with benzoic acid can result in ex-smokers actually consuming MORE nicotine than they did when smoking. (Like myself…)

Now, overall, replacing the extra chemicals in cigarettes with more nicotine MAY still be an overall healthier habit, but inhaling any foreign substance can be harmful, and science still hasn’t fully figured out just how risky vaping can be.

How Strong are JUUL Pods Lungs

The best way to use a JUUL is as a STEPPING STONE in the quitting process.  Use JUUL to transition from cigarettes, and then quit using the JUUL as well, ending in zero use of nicotine and no inhalation of anything other than air.

How Strong are JUUL Pods? The Results

I hope this has helped you gain a better understanding of just how strong JUUL Pods are, and what the potential risks are.

I still believe that JUUL has helped many people improve their health and that it is definitely a better option than smoking.

That being said, if you don’t smoke, please don’t JUUL.  You are rolling the dice of dependency and making light of an addiction that has plagued humanity for far too long.

Dependence on any chemical, be it nicotine, alcohol, caffeine, or even sugar, is never a good thing. The true challenge lies in moderation of substances rather than just replacing one habit with another.

But the easiest way to avoid this struggle altogether is to never start in the first place.

Have a great day dear JUULers, I’ll see you soon!

What do you think about JUUL’s strange labeling choice?  Why do you think they chose the percent by weight option rather than the much more common mg/ml? Let me know what you think by leaving a comment below!


4 Comments

Benedikt · June 12, 2019 at 3:57 am

Great article so for, well done.
I was wondering if there are any studies on how much nicotine is really absorbed by the body when one inhales the vapor from a juul compared to a draw on an average cigarette? Maybe the juul is only that strong because you can’t absorb as much nicotine with one pull as with a normal cigarette?
In addition, juul pods may only be sold with a maximum of 20mg/ml in Europe. This restriction could lead to the fact that juul in Europe does not function as it was originally envisioned by the developers.

    The Prof · June 12, 2019 at 6:41 pm

    Hello,

    Thank you for the compliment!

    As far as specific scientific studies, I believe there have been some done, but certainly not enough. I usually don’t delve too far into them due to time constraints as well as true science being beyond the scope of my articles.

    However, what I HAVE found is that the JUUL’s formula actually INCREASES the bioavailability of nicotine compared to that of a cigarette. The key is in the use of nicotine salts and benzoic acid. I talked about it quite a bit in my post “What is Nicotine Salt?”. I encourage you to check it out! Although what I found there is the best interpretation I could create from the research I did, it could also be VERY wrong. So keep that in mind and take it with a grain of salt, as I am certainly not a scientist.

    Thanks for reading and commenting! Have a great day!

salty · August 13, 2019 at 8:21 am

Hi Prof. Many thanks for some great maintenance and repair advice for the Juul.

My other half was recently introduced to the Juul pod so I did do a bit of research before getting one. These nic salts seem to be a be a great idea, if you ask me.

One small technical point I’d like to clarify is that nic salts are made from a chemical reaction between freebase nicotine and an acid. Benzoic acid is but one of a number of acids which can be used to form a salt nic.

Over here in Europe, we are limited to 20mg/ml nicotine strengths but many of us stocked up on freebase nicotine, up to 72mg/ml, before the EU’s Tobacco Products Directive came into force. Because the nic salts are more bioavailable, we can now stretch our limited stocks of nicotine to go a lot further than they otherwise would.

I recently converted 100ml of my freebase nicotine stock to a salt nic using citric acid (i.e. hopefully, nicotine citrate salt) so that we can now vape a 6mg/ml salt nic instead of 18mg/ml freebase nic we used to use. We make up our e-liquids using the salt nic and use it in standard cartomisers on low power and in refilled Jull pods. Our nicotine supply is likely to last at least three times longer than it would have.

Thanks again for all the advice.

    The Prof · August 15, 2019 at 7:28 pm

    Hey Salty!

    Glad I could help you in your research!

    You seem to already know quite a bit about nicotine salts, but you may still find my post on them interesting!

    I have not experimented with creating my own e-juice yet, but the method you described here is very intriguing.

    Glad you were able to stock up before the laws changed over there!

    If you haven’t yet, check out my review on the SMOK Novo, I think you’ll find it superior to the JUUL in many ways!

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