In 2019, JUUL Labs began marketing in the European Union ‘new technology’ pods that incorporated a new wick that it claimed provided ‘more satisfaction’. In this study, we compared design and materials of construction, electrical characteristics, liquid composition and nicotine and carbonyl emissions of new technology JUUL pods to their predecessors. Consistent with manufacturer’s claims, we found that the new pods incorporated a different wicking material. However, we also found that the new pod design resulted in 50% greater nicotine emissions per puff than its predecessor, despite exhibiting unchanged liquid composition, device geometry and heating coil resistance. We found that when connected to the new technology pods, the JUUL power unit delivered a more consistent voltage to the heating coil. This behaviour suggests that the new coil-wick system resulted in better surface contact between the liquid and the temperature-regulated heating coil. Total carbonyl emissions did not differ across pod generations. That nicotine yields can be greatly altered with a simple substitution of wick material underscores the fragility of regulatory approaches that centre on product design rather than product performance specifications.
- electronic nicotine delivery devices
- public policy
Data availability statement
All data relevant to the study are included in the article or uploaded as supplementary information.
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Contributors All authors designed the experiments and wrote the original draft. RS, REH and EK performed the experiments. EK, ST, RS and AS analysed the data.
Funding This research is supported by grant number U54DA036105 from the National Institute on Drug Abuse of the National Institutes of Health and the Centre for Tobacco Products of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Disclaimer The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the views of the NIH or the FDA.
Competing interests The authors declare the following competing financial interest: AS is named on a patent application for a device that measures the puffing behaviour of electronic cigarette users and is a paid consultant in litigation against the tobacco industry.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
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