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Levels of menthol, nicotine and cooling agents measured in JUUL products purchased across a three-year period
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  • Published on:
    Time-Dependent Changes in JUUL Pod Composition
    • Amira Yassine, Graduate Student, Chemistry American University of Beirut
    • Other Contributors:
      • Rachel El-Hage, Chemist
      • Ahmad El-Hellani, Assistant Professor, Chemistry
      • Rola Salman, Chemist
      • Soha Talih, Assistant Research Professor, Engineering
      • Thomas Eissenberg, Professor, Psychology
      • Alan Shihadeh, Professor, Engineering
      • Najat Saliba, Professor, Chemistry

    We acknowledge receipt of a private e-mail message from JLI regarding our paper (Yassine et al., 2022). Given the industry‘s long history of industry obfuscation, interference, and deception regarding research on tobacco products, we decided that the most transparent approach to the private e-mail that we received from an employee of a tobacco product manufacturer would be for us to report our results independently and respond to any public discussion of our work if and when it arose. Now that public discussion has arisen, we are pleased to respond to it.

    We very recently analyzed the menthol and nicotine content of samples of liquid from six menthol flavor pods purchased in 2020. Three of these were liquids extracted from the pods in June 2021 for our paper and had been stored since in sealed amber glass containers at 5°C in the dark. The other three pods had been stored in their original sealed packages and were taken from the same batches as the pods analyzed in June 2021. These unopened packages were stored in the dark at room temperature over the intervening 18 months. The data from this small sample demonstrate a 24% reduction in menthol content over that period (12.01±0.46 vs 9.15±0.22 mg/ml), which helps to explain the results we reported (Yassine et al., 2022). We also found a 5% reduction in nicotine content (62.47±0.63 vs 59.52±0.49 mg/ml), as well as discoloration of the liquid in the pods that were stored at room temperatur...

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    Conflict of Interest:
    Thomas Eissenberg and Alan Shihadeh are paid consultants in litigation against the tobacco and e-cigarette industry and are named on one patent for a device that measures the puffing behavior of e-cigarette users and another patent application for a smoking cessation intervention. Thomas Eissenberg is also named on a patent application for a smartphone app that determines e-cigarette device and liquid characteristics.
  • Published on:
    Implications made about JUUL products in this study are contradicted by our own contemporaneous and detailed product and manufacturing records, and are more readily explained by a methodological artifact that the authors have not fully reported
    • Gene Gillman, Vice President, Regulatory Chemistry Juul Labs

    Authors previewed this study on March 16, 2022, at the Annual Meeting of the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco[1]. Prompted by this presentation, on April 5, 2022, I emailed Drs. Talih, Eissenberg, and Shihadeh with product-specific information and questions that raised substantial doubt in the authors’ claims about JUUL products, specifically the purported modification of Menthol JUULpods.

    Due to word limits here, we have posted a full copy of my email to the authors on PubPeer[2]. This email predated by almost a month the authors’ submission to the journal. Below please find an excerpt from this correspondence:

    “In your presentation, you conclude that Juul Labs has in some way altered or otherwise modified its e-liquid formulations, but these claims are incorrect. Juul Labs has not altered or modified these e-liquid formulations since they were introduced into the market before August 2016 (i.e., FDA’s deeming date). We have supporting documentation, including batch records and certificates of analysis to confirm this.

    “Setting aside any issues with methodologies or environmental conditions in the study, there are a number of possible explanations for the variations you found. For example, one potential explanation for the differences in tested products is the loss of menthol over time. It is well-documented in scientific literature[3] that menthol may migrate from areas of high concentration to low concentration,...

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    Conflict of Interest:
    The author is an employee of Juul Labs Inc.