E-cigarette maker Juul Labs said it was cutting jobs and possibly pulling out of some markets in Europe and Asia, citing a “difficult external environment” and the uncertainty of a global pandemic and economic crisis.
The company did not give specifics on planned job cuts, only that they will make a “significant global reduction.” The Wall Street Journal, citing people familiar with the matter, said Juul plans to cut about 1,200 jobs. The company employs about 2,200 people.
“No final decisions have been made and we will continue to go through our evaluation process,” a spokesperson said.
In a letter to staff this week, chief executive officer K.C. Crosthwaite said the cuts would allow the company to continue investments in science, access control technologies, and future products.
“We’re still in the exploratory stages of this reduction, so we don’t have any details to share about the expected number of impacted employees, or the functions and countries that will be impacted,” he said.
Last November, Juul announced a plan to reduce expenses by $1 billion through a major restructuring effort. The company said it planned to lay off 650 employees, mostly in the marketing department. It announced another round of job cuts in April.
Juul was valued it around $37 billion when Altria bought a 35% stake in late 2018.
A series of vaping-related deaths last year led to increased concerns about lung injury and calls for tighter regulation. In late 2018, Juul announced it was halting sales of fruit-flavored products in U.S. stores. It announced it would no longer sell mint-flavored vape pods in November 2019, after sales of those products surged.
In July, the company announced it had submitted a premarket tobacco product application to the Food and Drug Administration as it sought approval to continue marketing its products in the U.S.
“In any potential new market, we would ensure that we can have science and evidence-based conversations with stakeholders before entering and that vapor products can effectively compete with combustible cigarettes,” Juul said.