Two Penn graduates' app designed to help people quit vaping is officially out of beta testing this week.
Jones, founded by 2017 College graduates Caroline Vasquez Huber and Hilary Dubin in 2022, is designed to help people stop vaping through nicotine replacement therapy, behavioral support, and community. Dubin and Vasquez Huber were inspired to found the company, which is based in New York, after both personally struggling with quitting vaping for years.
The Daily Pennsylvanian sat down with the founders to talk about their story and their hopes for the company. Vasquez Huber said she was first introduced to nicotine replacement therapy in 2020 after her mother recommended it to her, and she then introduced Dubin to the treatment.
After the pair was accepted into the Summer Launchpad program at New York University for a different company idea, they decided to switch paths and dedicate their efforts to creating Jones.
“We really wanted to figure out what the right solution was before we took it to market,” Dubin said.
While the company was founded in 2022, this week is the first time Jones has been investing money in marketing channels and outreach efforts. The name Jones comes from the term “jonesing” which is slang for “craving.”
Dubin highlighted four key factors that make Jones different from other vaping alternatives, which include authenticity and trust, efficacy, design-driven thinking, and building community.
Jones offers 4 mg and 2 mg nicotine lozenges as the basis of their treatment program, and then builds upon the physiological treatment through psychological support methods.
The company method combines nicotine replacement therapy with two strings of lozenges, behavioral support through the app, and a 30-day SMS text program.
Vasquez Huber said that Jones’ method addresses both the psychological and physiological effects of nicotine withdrawal, unlike other quitting methods.
The Jones app allows for daily check-ins and allows users to share updates with friends or the broader community.
“We’ve sort of created this space, which didn't exist before, for talking about quitting, talking about vaping, sharing with each other,” Dubin said.
Both the app and SMS text feature use an AI feature known as Coach Jones that offers support for users, such as answering questions.
Vasquez Huber and Dubin said that the company’s main demographic is currently those in their late 20s who are ready to quit vaping as they enter their 30s, and college juniors and seniors who want to quit vaping before entering the workforce.
“The way we think about marketing and community building is that we want this to be really organic,” Vasquez Huber said.
The company has planned events in New York to encourage community within the quitting space.
“We really believe that this journey has to be individualized and judgment free,” Vasquez Huber said. “It’s going to look different for everyone.”
Vasquez Huber and Dubin said that their goal for launch week was to connect with the most consumers possible and spread awareness of the new products.
Dubin added that the company’s goal is to provide programs to its consumers that allow them to achieve whatever goal they have, whether it’s completely quitting or reducing consumption.
“[Jones] truly is judgment free and it truly is sort of meeting you where you’re at based on what you want and what you need,” Dubin said. “The world of quitting was really black and white…I think with Jones, we really see that there is a spectrum of dependency.”
She also said that the quitting journey is individualized and how Jones works with its users.
“Jones is for quitters, but what being a quitter means is up to you and where you’re at in your journey,” Dubin said.