Company News

February 27, 2019

Our mission is simple: to improve the lives of the world’s one billion adult smokers by providing the first true alternative to combustible cigarettes.

“We started this project with the firm belief that innovation could address all the problems associated with smoking.”

JUUL Labs’ cofounders, Adam Bowen and James Monsees, first began developing alternative technology to combusted cigarettes as graduate students together in the product design program at Stanford University. Smokers themselves, they first conceived of the idea for disrupting the worldwide cigarette industry during shared smoke breaks for their masters thesis project. As they continued to go outside for smoke breaks, they wondered why, in an age of incredible technological progress, there had yet to be a product that could offer an alternative to combustible cigarettes.

Video of Adam and James’ master’s thesis presentation at Stanford University.

Even a decade ago, when Adam and James first presented their graduate thesis, they were steadfast in their mission to improve the lives of the world’s one billion smokers. “Adam and I were interested in working on design for social change, and we acknowledged right away that smoking was probably an easy target,” James says in the recording of their thesis presentation from June, 2005. 

“We would hear these anecdotes from 10-year or 20-year smokers. They had tried other e-cigarette products and nothing had worked.”

The clarity of purpose has been a constant for James and Adam — from the inception of their first prototypes to their leadership at JUUL Labs as Chief Product Officer and Chief Technology Officer.

Applying their backgrounds in product design to the challenge of finding a satisfying alternative to smoking, Adam and James labored for years over dozens of product iterations before landing on the design and features of the JUUL device.

"I would tell people, you know, anyone who would listen: Fifty years from now, nobody's going to be smoking cigarettes. And now I think it's actually going to happen must faster, in large part because of the progress that we've made."

Their work eventually evolved into the product JUUL Labs offers today, which has helped adult smokers make the switch off combustible cigarettes. Studies have shown that 40 to 55 percent of adult smokers who purchased and used the JUUL product fully switch from combustible cigarettes within 90 days of use.

Almost four years after the launch of JUUL, the cigarette industry is now facing unprecedented declines in sales volume, with year-over-year losses that have not been seen in the past 5 years of available data. Multiple factors have driven the long-term trend in cigarette declines, but the company believes the largest recent contributor, particularly over the past several months, has been the growth of JUUL products as a true alternative for smokers.