New Study Finds Almost Half of Juul Starter Kit Buyers Quit Within 3 Months

Those who continued to smoke cut their cigarette consumption in half.



A new study, based on a survey of about 7,700 Juul users, found that nearly half had quit smoking within three months of buying a starter kit, while the rest had reduced their cigarette consumption by an average of 52 percent. The survey results, reported in the Journal of Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine, provide further evidence that e-cigarettes help smokers dramatically reduce their exposure to the toxins and carcinogens produced by tobacco combustion.

The survey, commissioned by Juul Labs and conducted by the Centre for Substance Use Research, started with 9,272 smokers who had bought starter kits online or from brick-and-mortar stores, of whom 7,721 responded to questions about their past-month smoking prior to the purchase and three months later. Forty-seven percent reported no smoking at all in the month before the follow-up. Among those who were still smoking, the number of cigarettes consumed during the previous month fell, on average, from 341 to 165, or from about 11 to about five a day.

E-cigarette skeptics frequently warn that people who use these products may continue to smoke even after they take up vaping, and these data confirm that dual use is common. But even if dual users do not eventually stop smoking completely, a 52 percent reduction in cigarette consumption is nothing to sneeze at. Another recent study found that smokers who switched entirely to vaping saw reductions in biomarkers of exposure to hazardous substances as big as people who stopped smoking without using e-cigarettes. Getting halfway there surely represents a significant improvement.

The researchers take a stab at translating these findings into estimates of Juul's population-wide impact on cigarette consumption. If 20 percent of smokers use Juul, for example, that would represent 84 million fewer cigarettes smoked per month.

The sample in this study is self-selected, so you would not expect to see the same results in a group of randomly selected smokers. People who buy Juul starter kits are probably especially motivated to quit (or cut back) and especially likely to find that vaping is an adequate substitute for smoking. But a randomized study reported in January found that e-cigarettes were almost twice as effective in achieving smoking cessation as other forms of nicotine replacement.

In the real world, smokers will tend to gravitate toward the cessation methods that work best for them, so it's important that they have a wide range of options. The Food and Drug Administration, which acknowledges the enormous harm-reducing potential of e-cigarettes, is nevertheless proceeding with a plan that will limit those options by restricting the availability of most e-liquid flavors.

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  1. lol @ Reason applauding hipster millenial cuck trash who can’t quit smoking without help.

    1. When I was a kid, we had to quit smoking every couple of years, without e-cigs, in the snow.

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  2. Market solution to help people quit smoking?

    You know Lefty Nanny-State types are gonna attack that since it removes all the money and government power surrounding smoking and their supposed anti-smoking efforts.

  3. The government doesn’t want to lose tobacco revenue and doesn’t care about health outcomes. You can tell because they can’t build a case that doesn’t sound like an evangelical puritan bemoaning a lack of moral fiber. If people harm themselves isn’t that their own business?

  4. I can only speculate as to why Reason has been whoring for e-cigs so incessantly, but I quit with the help of the gum.

    The thing that bothered me most was the messaging I’d received since childhood that smoking cigarettes was more addictive than heroin. It may have discouraged starting for some people, but for me it discouraged quitting. I am by nature a libertine with very little willpower, so why bother if it’s a lost cause?

    Now this messaging has only succeeded in making me contemplate becoming a heroin junkie. As a former DARE student of the year, I say well done, propagandists.

  5. What I’m wondering is, Who are the bootleggers who are benefiting from the demonization of vaping?

    I mean, it can’t be Big Tobacco. Big Tobacco could easily dominate the vaping business if it wanted to (and maybe it does already).

    1. It sure isn’t Eric Garner.

      1. Poor bastard.

    2. Juul was bought by the makers of Marlboro

      1. No, its better than that. They sold a 35% stake in Juul to Altria for $13b, so Juul’s founders could cash in without giving up control.

    3. Teenagers do things because people tell them not to. It’s big tobacco lobbying to make their non-tobacco products trendy so people who wouldn’t do either buy the Juul starter kits.

      1. If true, teen smoking trends wouldn’t be in freefall.

  6. Don’t worry.
    The FDA will condemn and then halt the production of this wonderful device soon.
    After all, taxes on tobacco are too large to allow the smoking populace to quit which just goes to show you the federal, state and local governments have their addiction to feed too.

    1. It’s not just the government not wanting to lose out on the tax money, it’s the insurance companies that can charge premiums on smokers (only group that can be charged premium under ACA). When I was looking switching to vaping, I contacted my (employer provided) insurance company to find out if and when I could be considered a non-smoker. They basically told me that if a blood test revealed nicotine in my system, I could be charged for fraud for claiming to be a non-smoker. I would think insurance companies would be jumping all over their customers to move to vaping over cigarettes…but I would obviously be wrong.

      1. You could tell them you ate an entire pan of eggplant parmigiana before the urine test. Eggplant and tomatoes both contain nicotine, although you would probably have to eat a lot more than a single poppyseed bagel worth that will fail an opioid test…

      2. Yeah, but your insurance provider can’t pop quiz you with a drug test either and nicotine is pretty short lived.

        1. nicotine is pretty short lived.

          Nicotine is but the metabolite Cotinine has an elimination half-life of 20 hours which, for the real addicts, may as well be 20 days but means even a single cigarette can typically be detected up to a week later (not that insurers /employers really care whether they’re detecting actual direct consumption or some manner of cumulative exposure or not).

          1. Nicotine actually becomes undetectable by urine test within 48 hours. I participated in a smoking cessation study once about 15 years ago and was told this. Boy did the cigarette I had after taste good!

          2. The point is that unlike your employer your insurance company isn’t going to show up with a cup and demand a test.

          3. Biological half life is far more variable than the decay of an isotope.

            You are correct. Screening tests in general tend to have high sensitivity and low specificity. They are designed for that.

    2. Their goal seems to be to eliminate all forms of tobacco and nicotine except for cigarettes and eliminating flavors too, I’ve even heard that some places are considering bans on filtered cigarettes, so you will be left with a choice of lucky strikes, pall mall, or unliteted camels which will cost you $30/pack.

  7. “The Food and Drug Administration, which acknowledges the enormous harm-reducing potential of e-cigarettes, is nevertheless proceeding with a plan that will limit those options by restricting the availability of most e-liquid flavors.”

    They are probably doing this as a favor to the makers of Chantix, an FDA-approved method of giving up the nicotine habit. Chantix works but is patented and expensive. Regulation of business is more about protecting politically-connected businesses from competition than it is about protecting consumers.

  8. The problem with Juul is the nicotine levels. They have 2 levels, both of which are significantly higher than the type of e-cigarettes we’ve seen for the last decade or so. They don’t ever give an opportunity to actually step down. Even their lower nicotine level is much higher than all other e-cigarettes. So basically they’re locking people in with exceptionally high nicotine levels, with no way to ween off if they choose. They’re basically getting people addicted to Juul, and with no way out.

    It’s dirty.

    Not that I think it should be regulated, but it is to say that Juul sucks.

    1. So the study cited is not proof of any long term benefit. Yet others agree based on chemical analysis that vape based nicotine products have far less carcinogenic potential.

      I think over the next few decades we will see dramatic reduction in harm from tobacco cigarettes. It takes long term cohort studies and clinical trials before you can establish reliable evidence.

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