JUUL electronic cigarettes: Nicotine exposure and the user experience

Drug Alcohol Depend. 2019 Oct 1;203:83-87. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2019.05.019. Epub 2019 Aug 5.


Background: As of March 2019, JUUL electronic cigarettes are the most popular e-cigarette on the U.S. market, but little is known of nicotine exposure and dependence on JUUL and user experience.

Methods: JUUL users participated in a community-based study involving questionnaires, saliva collection and a qualitative interview.

Results: Fifteen participants were enrolled (80% male, 53% White) and had an average age of 29.8 (standard deviation = 10) years. Daily exposure to nicotine assessed via salivary cotinine was similar to those reported for other e-cigarette and tobacco cigarette users in general. The majority reported low to moderate nicotine dependence. Qualitative interview themes included: the importance of social networks in adoption and use of the product; device features such as small size and vapor cloud reinforced product use; the product provided satisfaction compared to a tobacco cigarette; and a perceived sense of addiction to the product.

Conclusions: JUUL e-cigarettes expose users to levels of nicotine similar to other e-cigarettes but may be more satisfying due to unique device features. JUUL may be quite acceptable to tobacco cigarette smokers who are seeking to quit. However, it holds addictive potential and can reinforce long-term nicotine use.

Keywords: Cotinine; Dependence; Electronic cigarettes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Behavior, Addictive / chemically induced
  • Behavior, Addictive / diagnosis
  • Behavior, Addictive / psychology
  • Cotinine / analysis
  • Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nicotine / administration & dosage*
  • Nicotine / adverse effects
  • Nicotine / analysis
  • Personal Satisfaction*
  • Reinforcement, Psychology*
  • Saliva / chemistry
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Tobacco Use Disorder / diagnosis
  • Tobacco Use Disorder / psychology*
  • Tobacco Use Disorder / therapy
  • Young Adult


  • Nicotine
  • Cotinine