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Jamie Ducharme with Lisa Weidenfeld: Big Vape

Jamie Ducharme with Lisa Weidenfeld: Big Vape

Tuesday, June 01, 2021 - 07:00PM ET
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Jamie Ducharme discusses Big Vape: The Incendiary Rise of Juul, with Lisa Weidenfeld.

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Big Vape: The Incendiary Rise of Juul

It began with a smoke break. James Monsees and Adam Bowen were two ambitious graduate students at Stanford, and in between puffs after class they dreamed of a way to quit smoking. Their solution became the Juul, a sleek, modern device that could vaporize nicotine into a conveniently potent dosage. The company they built around that device, Juul Labs, would go on to become a $38 billion dollar company and draw blame for addicting a whole new generation of underage tobacco users.

Time magazine reporter Jamie Ducharme follows Monsees and Bowen as they create Juul and, in the process, go from public health visionaries and Silicon Valley wunderkinds to two of the most controversial businessmen in the country.

With rigorous reporting and clear-eyed prose that reads like a nonfiction thriller, Big Vape uses the dramatic rise of Juul to tell a larger story of big business, Big Tobacco, and the high cost of a product that was too good to be true.

A native New Englander, Jamie Ducharme is now a New York-based staff writer at Time magazine, where she covers health and science. Her work has won awards from the New York Press Club, the Deadline Club, and the Newswomen's Club of New York.

Lisa Weidenfeld is the senior digital editor at Boston magazine, where she has written about such varied topics as the joys of city walking, pandemic anxieties, and the indignities of the pavilion concert venue's constant name changes. Her work has also appeared in the Boston Globe, the AV Club, and Metro Boston.