Juul May Lay Off More Than 50% Of Its Workforce, Report Says

E-cigarette giant Juul is planning significant layoffs, the company said Thursday, as Juul sees its market share decline amid a crack down on vaping from U.S. regulators.

The Wall Street Journal reported Juul is looking to lay off more than half its workforce, whittling down its employees from 2,200 to 1,000—but the company hasn’t released details and only said it is “making a significant global reduction.”

Juul said it may also pull out of markets in Europe and Asia “that have not provided the kind of return necessary given the cost to continue investing in the market.”

Juul already laid off 1,000 employees earlier this year, discontinued advertising and announced plans to pull out of South Korea, Austria, Belgium, Portugal and Spain.

The changes come after Juul replaced its CEO with ex-Altria executive K.C. Crosthwaite last year at the height of mounting concerns around youth vaping. 

Crucial quote

“Throughout this year and against a difficult external environment. . . . Our category has endured even tougher conditions and it has seemingly become even easier to sell combustible cigarettes than vapor products,” Juul said in the blog post.

Juul’s U.S. market share has fallen to 58% from 75% in November 2018, according to the Wall Street Journal.

key background

Lawmakers have been targeting the e-cigarette industry over the past few years in response to a rapid increase in teen vaping. Juul, which has become the face of the industry, faces an investigation from 39 state attorneys general probing whether the company advertised its products to minors.

The Trump Administration banned mint and fruit-flavored vapes last year, and California this week went even further by banning menthol-flavored tobacco as well. A spate of vaping-related illnesses last year, which were mostly linked to black market products, only further battered Juul’s image.

Rachel Sandler

 Rachel Sandler

I’m a San Francisco-based reporter covering breaking news at Forbes. I’ve previously reported for USA Today, Business Insider, The San Francisco Business Times and San Jose Inside. I studied journalism at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and was an editor at The Daily Orange, the university’s independent student newspaper. Follow me on Twitter @rachsandl or shoot me an email rsandler@forbes.com.

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