Pax Juul: the IPhone of E-cigs?

Juul in hand male blue button down small

It took the iPhone for most people to switch to smartphones from feature phones. It might be presumptive to say that it’ll take something as well designed and subtle as Pax Labs’ new Juul e-cig to make smokers switch to vaping, but that’s the idea.

Released today, the Juul is a rectangular e-cigarette that promises more of the nicotine kick of a regular, combustible cigarette. I asked at least a dozen people to guess what the Juul was, and all of them guessed it was a USB stick. There’s a small light on the top of the battery part—green means good to go, white means it’s in use or is being charged, and red means it needs to be charged. Double-tap on the light, and it shows a light for the battery’s status.

Cartridges (called them “Juulpods”) come in several color-coded flavors, including tobacco and menthol. These cartridges are as unique as the USB-looking battery. They’re transparent, and show the e-liquid working inside.

I’ve tested several e-cigs, and the Pax Juul takes a little getting used to at first. Perhaps because of the perfected chemistry, I found that initially inhaling can be harsh. Don’t suck it in too fast. It’s a form of temperature control; a softer inhale is a cooler vape, and a hard inhale will be very hot and harsh.

Once you get used to how to vape with it, it’s a smooth ride, delivering an thick fog. The idea behind Pax’s perfected chemistry is that it will peak the blood in your nicotine five minutes or so after your first inhale, closer to what you’d get with a combustible cigarette. Hopefully, this feature will make more smokers hip to it.

All that said, it’s difficult to determine at this point the healthfulness of e-cigs. Many cities have banned them in public places like restaurants, and FDA regulation is looming. While they’re certainly better for you than cigarettes, studies are showing that they’re not all they’re cracked up to be: a PLOS One study, for example, showed that e-cigs could possibly damage your immune system. The long-term health risks haven’t been exposed yet.

But if you’re in the market for an e-cig, you’d be hardpressed to find a better (and better designed) one than the Juul. Once you get used to how to use it, it’s all foggy bliss. The device retails at $50, and the Juulpods at $16, available at

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