The 2015 release of the Juul e-cigarette in the United States was an event that breathed new life into the stagnant market of e-cigarettes intended for beginners. Until then, most of the e-cigarettes available in local convenience stores had critical problems. Some didn’t deliver enough nicotine to satisfy. Others simply didn’t taste good. Many smokers found it difficult to keep away from tobacco using “cigalikes” alone.

Photo credit: SMOK Infinix

Enter the Juul Pod Vaping System

The Juul was something different. It was a bit larger than a cigalike – about the same size and shape as a USB thumb drive – so it delivered more vapor per puff and had better battery life than a cigalike with only a slight increase in size. The thing that really made the Juul unique, though, was the e-liquid. Not only was the 50 mg nicotine strength of the e-liquid much higher than what most cigalikes delivered, but the Juul also featured a completely new type of e-liquid that promised to deliver satisfaction more like a cigarette than ever before. Before long, Juul became America’s fastest-growing e-cigarette brand. It eventually became the top-selling mainstream e-cigarette in the United States.

How Juul Changed the Vaping Market

Although the Juul is only available in the United States, vapers around the world have felt its repercussions. The Juul has changed the e-cigarette market in two key ways:

  • Nicotine salts have become incredibly popular. Nearly every large vape shop now carries several brands of bottled nicotine salt e-liquid. Nicotine salts are in high demand, and the profit margins for selling them can be quite high. Most major e-liquid makers now have nicotine salt e-liquids either on the market or in development.
  • Pod vaping systems have become popular throughout the world. Every major online or offline vape shop carries several pod vaping systems because they’re great for newbies and experienced vapers alike.

Why Are Pod Vaping Devices So Popular?

If you’re currently using a larger vaping device such as a sub-ohm box mod, it might be hard to understand at first glance why so many people are flocking to pod vaping systems. Why would you want an e-cigarette, after all, that produces less vapor than the one you’re currently using? You can answer that question by considering what made you upgrade to a larger vaping device in the first place. For some people, sub-ohm vaping makes e-cigarettes more fun. Some people simply enjoy blowing the biggest, thickest clouds that they can.

It’s possible, though, that you switched to a larger e-cigarette because your first e-cigarette – probably one that you bought at a convenience store – didn’t satisfy you. Your first e-cigarette didn’t deliver enough nicotine, so you switched to a device that generated more vapor. If you had an opportunity to switch to a smaller, more discreet device that used less e-liquid and had better battery life without compromising your satisfaction, would you take it? That’s the reason why so many vapers are switching to pod vaping devices.

What Are Nicotine Salts?

Nicotine salts are the reason why pod vaping system users are reporting greater satisfaction even though they’re using smaller devices. A nicotine salt e-liquid uses an acid such as benzoic acid to convert the nicotine from a free base to a salt. While most e-liquids still use freebase nicotine, test results suggest that a nicotine salt e-liquid can produce a higher concentration of nicotine in the bloodstream if the nicotine strength of the e-liquid is high. High nicotine is the hallmark of a nicotine salt e-liquid. In the UK and Europe, nicotine salt e-liquids have the highest nicotine concentration – 20 mg – that the law allows. In the United States, nicotine salt e-liquids contain up to 50 mg of nicotine per ml.

Converting freebase nicotine to nicotine salt lowers the nicotine’s pH, reducing the throat hit and making the vapor easier to inhale. Because nicotine salt e-liquids are so high in nicotine, though, they aren’t appropriate for larger vaping devices. Nicotine salt e-liquids belong in smaller e-cigarettes such as pod vaping systems.

What Are the Pros and Cons of a Pod Vaping Device With Nicotine Salts?

Greater Satisfaction

Because nicotine salts alleviate the irritating throat hit that you’d otherwise experience with a high-nicotine e-liquid, they make it possible to use higher-strength e-liquids than would otherwise be feasible. If you currently smoke, you can expect the switch to a pod vaping device to be almost seamless. If you already vape, you might be surprised by how happy you are after “downgrading” to a smaller e-cigarette.

Lower Vaping Cost

Using a sub-ohm vaping device is fun. What isn’t fun, though, is going through a big bottle of e-liquid every few days; it takes a lot of e-liquid to generate those room-filling vapor clouds. Do you consume so much e-liquid that you find yourself shopping for “budget” e-liquids rather than buying the flavors you truly enjoy? Switching to a pod vaping device means that you’ll consume substantially less e-liquid – and if your favorite flavors aren’t available in nicotine salt versions yet, they probably will be soon.

If you currently use a sub-ohm vaping device, it’s likely that you also spend a lot of money on replacement coils – especially if you like sweet “coil killer” e-liquids. The amount of gunk that accumulates on a coil is largely a function of the amount of e-liquid you consume. Since you’ll use less e-liquid with a pod vaping system, you’ll find that your coils last longer – even if you use sweet e-liquids.

Smaller Clouds

There is a trade-off of you switch to a smaller vaping device, and the trade-off is that you won’t be generating those room-filling vapor clouds anymore. For some people, that’s a benefit. If you worry that you’re drawing attention to yourself or annoying others when you use your sub-ohm vaping device in public, you’ll probably enjoy the switch to a more discreet vaping system. If blowing huge clouds is part of the fun for you, though, you’re probably not going to want to become a full-time user of a pod vaping device.

Reduced Flavor Selection

Although many of the world’s most popular e-liquid makers now have nicotine salt e-liquids in development, the nicotine salt e-liquid industry is still a new one. If you enter a local vape shop today, there’s a chance that they’ll only have a few flavors of nicotine salt e-liquid available. By the end of 2018, though, it’s likely that up to half of all e-liquid sold in some regions will be nicotine salt e-liquid. The selection will only grow with time.

Final Thoughts

So, are pod vaping devices for you? We can best answer that question by asking you a few questions.

  • Are you a full-time smoker interested in vaping?
  • Are you a part-time smoker because your current vaping device doesn’t satisfy you?
  • Did you switch to a sub-ohm vaping device out of frustration with your first e-cigarette’s inability to satisfy you?
  • Do you spend way too much money on e-liquid and replacement coils?
  • Would you switch to a more portable and discreet e-cigarette if doing so wouldn’t compromise your level of satisfaction?

If you’re a full-time vaper and are already happy with your vaping experience, there’s probably no reason to try a pod vaping system unless you’re the type of vaper who needs every new toy. If you answered “yes” to any of the above questions, though, you owe it to yourself to try a pod vaping device right away. We think you’ll find it remarkable how satisfying a small e-cigarette can truly be.