Juul's new product: Less nicotine, more intense vapor

In an effort to lower the nicotine in its e-cigarette pods, Juul Labs is seeking to increase the pods' vapor. However, experts say doing so can raise the rate at which nicotine is absorbed in the body.

In an effort to lower the nicotine in its e-cigarette pods, Juul Labs is seeking to increase the pods' vapor. However, experts say doing so can raise the rate at which nicotine is absorbed in the body. Sources say the company hopes the higher vapor pods will appeal to cigarette smokers who are accustomed to a larger cloud, while reducing the nicotine level to meet stricter nicotine limits in many countries. In the European Union, where Juul plans to expand, for instance, the nicotine limit for e-cigarettes is 20 mg per ml of fluid—about a third of the amount in the most popular American Juul pod. A lower nicotine version is also on sale in the United States at 23 mg of nicotine per ml of fluid. Juul has not ruled out marketing the new product in the United States but would need FDA's approval to do so. FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb has encouraged the development of alternatives such as e-cigarettes and, early in his tenure, extended the deadline for them to meet strict new agency rules. FDA also hopes to reduce nicotine to nonaddictive levels in conventional cigarettes. The agency has started that process, but tobacco firms are preparing to resist. The agency has yet to announce setting limits on nicotine in e-cigarettes.