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Juul co-founder James Monsees plans to leave the company

The company has faced scrutiny for how its products may be related to youth vaping

Introduction of the e-cigarette “Juul” in Germany Photo by Axel Heimken/picture alliance via Getty Images

Juul Labs co-founder James Monsees is planning to step down as adviser and board member of the beleaguered e-cigarette company, Bloomberg reports.

“Building this company alongside all of you has been the single most rewarding experience of my career and perhaps my life,” Monsees reportedly wrote in an email to Juul employees. According to Bloomberg, he was planning to spend more time with his family. Formerly the company’s chief product officer, Monsees and Adam Bowen co-founded Juul in 2015.

The company has faced intense scrutiny for how its products allegedly hooked kids on vaping, and claimed that its products help users quit smoking cigarettes.

New York announced in November it was suing Juul for deceptive advertising. The company downplayed health risks, according to the lawsuit, and “significantly contributed to the public health crisis that has left youth in New York and across the country addicted to its products,” New York Attorney General Letitia James said. North Carolina and California have also sued the company over its advertising practices, and the Federal Trade Commission is investigating Juul over its use of influencers in marketing.

Juul CEO K.C. Crosthwaite, who joined the company in September, said in an email to employees that Monsees was “instrumental in building this company from the ground up,” according to Bloomberg.