What Happened To The Founders Of Juul? Where Adam Bowen And James Monsees

The Rise and Fall of Juul: What happened to the founders of the world’s chicest vape

Their mango pods changed my life

Before e-cigs looked like bloated crayons, there was a chic little device which had panicked party girls screaming “where’s my Juul?!” the globe over. And now a new four-party documentary Big Vape: The Rise and Fall of Juul has us mourning and mulling over the absence and impact of the world’s sleekest nicotine device all over again.

Juul blew up in what felt like a matter of minutes. Everyone from Alexa Chung to Snoop Dogg had one perched in their pocket. Within three years the company was worth $38 billion— until accusations of creating a youth vaping epidemic piled up. So, in the wake of Netflix’s new documentary, here’s where the Juul founders landed after their empire came crashing down. And whether you can still get your hands on a Juul in the UK right now:

So, who are James Monsees and Adam Bowen?

Juul co-founders James Monsees and Adam Bowen were grad students together at Stanford University in the early 2000s. They both studied product design and became friends while taking cig breaks between their classes. You see where this is going.

James and Adam went into business together and created a start-up called Ploom, which they later rebranded as Pax Labs and introduced their first vape: the Pax vaporiser. Three years after they released Juul— they owned a multibillion-dollar company.

However, Juul soon became the focus of several lawsuits which claimed the company had created a youth vaping epidemic. Eventually, the United State’s Food and Drug Administration agency got involved and banned Juul’s flavoured pods, like fruit, creme, mango, and cucumber.

And what happened to James Monsees and Adam Bowen after Juuls got banned in the US?

What Happened To The Founders Of Juul? Where Adam Bowen And James Monsees

Credit: Netflix

Adam and James were riding high on Juul’s success. They even made it onto Time’s most influential list in 2019. But, after all of Juul’s law suits, they mostly fell into obscurity. And Forbes says both men have lost their billionaire status.

James stepped down from Juul entirely in 2020: “After 15 years on this tremendous journey, it is with a great deal of thought and consideration that I have decided it is time for me to move on from JUUL Labs and step down from our Board,” he wrote in a company memo, Buzzfeed reported. “These many years have been incredible, and I did not make this decision lightly.”

In Spring this year, Juul agreed to pay a $462 million to settle the lawsuit claims the company had targeted children and young people with its marketing and products. However, the company does still exist.

So, can you still get Juuls in the UK now?

You can still very much buy Juuls in the UK— there’s even a big shiny store in Westfield. But things look a little different now. Unlike in the US, you can still get the fruit flavoured pods in the UK but they only work with the original Juul device. And the original Juul? Totally discontinued. So, if you’ve got one in your cupboard, it’s basically a relic.

Now, the main product the company is selling is the JUUL2 device. It looks basically the same of the OG Juul but the flavours are very, very, clearly targeted to adults: Virginia tobacco, autumn tobacco, etc. There is still something called “blackcurrant tobacco”, though.

Related stories recommended by this writer:

Here’s what your favourite Lost Mary flavour says about you – before they’re banned

• This is what your favourite flavour of Elf bar says about your overall vibe