E-cigarette maker Juul Labs Inc. will be letting most of its 50 Israeli employees go and cutting down significantly on its local operations following its recent troubles in the U.S., one person familiar with the matter told Calcalist on condition of anonymity. Recently, Juul has decided on a restructuring process that will see it lay off 650 of its 4,000 employees worldwide.
Calcalist approached Juul a week ago to inquire whether the company’s current situation will affect its Israeli operations, and was met with firm denials. It is possible, however, that the decision was made in the past few days.
Juul launched in the U.S. in 2015 and quickly reached meteoric success, but has also gained much criticism and a few lawsuits over its fast-growing popularity among teens. More recently, Juul and other e-cigarette makers came under fire for a mysterious lung condition that caused at least 42 deaths and 2,172 illness cases in the U.S., which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said may be connected to the presence of vitamin E acetate in the electronic cigarettes.
Juul’s reorganization has also included an even greater emphasis on the company’s previous statements that it is targeting the adult smoking market and not teenagers and non-smokers.
The company also intends to pull the petition it filed with Israel’s Supreme Court against the Israeli Health Ministry’s decision to treat e-cigarettes the same as regular cigarettes, according to the person familiar with the matter. The decision has far-reaching consequences as the Israeli parliament has recently signed off on legalization that compel both regular and e-cigarette makers to use identical packages and warnings. A supreme court decree in favor of Juul and its fellow e-cigarette makers could ease the new regulation, set to come into effect in January. The Israeli health ministry has also previously made its intention to completely ban e-cigarette sales in the country known.