JUUL and the Rise of Nicotine Salts
The appearance of nicotine salts and pod systems go hand in hand. The company responsible for the first modern pod system - Pax Labs - invented the JUUL Starter Kit in 2015. Eventually, the device earned its own offshoot company, appropriately named JUUL Labs.
JUUL's emergence was particularly important, because the system was designed to use Pax Labs' new e-liquid formula: nicotine salts. JUUL found that by mixing nicotine with benzoic acid, they were able to achieve much higher concentrations of nicotine compared to traditional freebase mixtures.
The end result was an vape experience like no other. Unlike conventional liquids, nic salts could deliver a nicotine hit comparable or - at bigger levels - even higher than cigarettes. Suddenly, heavy smokers had a new alternative; and it worked.
By 2017, JUUL had become unbelievably successful, with a 68% market share by mid-2018. The device also etched its way into popular culture, even leading to the creation of the word "Juuling" to describe its use. While Juuling and vaping are basically the same thing, JUUL managed to differentiate itself.
Today, the JUUL device is still going strong.
Spinoffs and the Future of JUUL Pod Systems
What started as a single device quickly became a cash-cow. Naturally, other reputable vape companies wanted to join the hype. Big names like Aspire, SMOK and Suorin all came out with their own variations. But rather than simply ripping off JUUL, these companies tried to find ways to make devices better.
This eventually led to refillable pod devices. They worked in the same basic fashion as a JUUL Pods, with the juice being held in a pod-like cartridge. However, these could use bottled e-liquid rather than fixed, disposable cartridges. Some also were able to use both nic salts and conventional e-liquids, opening them up to the same array of choices that conventional vapers enjoy.
Where pod devices will go from here is anyone's guess. But if JUUL is any indication, all it takes is one revolutionary product to start a proverbial arms race.
And let's face it, the more these companies try to outdo each other, the better our options become. With more options, comes more effectiveness and - of course - enjoyment.
But most important of all, improvements in vape devices mean a greater chance of quitting smoking. Fancy devices and flavors aside, dropping tobacco is one aspect of vaping that will never change.