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JUUL To Move From Toxic California

JUUL has been on a cost-cutting drive since the last quarter of 2019 and now announces it is moving out of San Francisco

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JUUL Labs has been fighting attacks on all sides for years and it looks like it is taking its toll. The company has carried out a range of cost-cutting measures over the last six months against a backdrop of toxic attacks from many sides. Now the company has had its fill with the evangelical anti-harm reduction nitwits in San Francisco and has announced a planned relocation to Washington, D.C.

JUUL Labs pronounced that it was going to conduct as 15% cut in staffing across all areas due to a “backlash against vaping” in October last year. The increasingly close scrutiny it was operating under was beginning to have an impact. “To right-size the business, the workforce will be reduced between now and the end of the year,” said a spokesperson.

Apparently, according to JUUL’s chief executive, this would enable the company to “focus on reducing underage e-cigarette use, invest in research, and earn operating licences around the world.” Quite how staff cuts are related to “underage e-cigarette use” was never explained, nor why JUUL insists on buying into the teen epidemic lie.

Five hundred jobs were predicted to go, but this had risen to a consolidation figure of 650 by November. Spending was now rumoured to be slashed by $1 billion with cuts to marketing departments and the axing of all advertising in the USA.

Moving to the present day, the proposed staff restructuring now looks like it will eradicate almost 1000 roles from the company – despite the fact that JUUL is still advertising for more staff [link], including thirty in San Francisco.

This could be a very short-lived career move for those interested in applying as this week JUUL has confirmed that it plans on shifting its headquarters from the epicentre of anti-vape zealotry to Washington D.C.

Following tobacco firm Altria’s investment in JUUL, placing the value of the company at around $38 billion, times got very hard indeed. Ambulance chasing lawyers launched frivolous lawsuits on behalf of impecunious idiots making unfounded claims that vaping with a JUUL had turned their lungs to blancmange (or something). Legislators saw attacking JUUL as an open goal and forced them into removing flavours from sale.

By January, JUUL’s net worth was $12 billion; not an inconsiderable amount, but well short of the heyday and making Altria’s investment relatively worthless.

JUUL has been trying in vain to offload its headquarters but the $400 million building is now worth much less due to the disastrous, pandemic afflicted property market. The purchase was JUUL cocking a snook at the San Francisco burghers (the company used to dwell in a rented city-owned property) following bans [link] – but this transpired to be just one more poor boardroom decision.

The reaction to JUUL’s move announcement? San Francisco Supervisor Shamann Walton wrote: “It's nice to see people win over profit, even if it's a small victory. We never wanted Juul in San Francisco.”

JUUL’s meteoric rise has been dogged by officers making the wrong comment or taking the wrong decision at the worst time. The company has alienated industry associates, upset tobacco harm reduction advocates and played into the hands of the zealots on so many occasions. Maybe it should consider the shift to Washington as a time to try to blank sheet the business and build relationships with natural allies? There are at least 26 billion reasons why it should.

Dave Cross avatar

Dave Cross

Journalist at POTV
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Dave is a freelance writer; with articles on music, motorbikes, football, pop-science, vaping and tobacco harm reduction in Sounds, Melody Maker, UBG, AWoL, Bike, When Saturday Comes, Vape News Magazine, and syndicated across the Johnston Press group. He was published in an anthology of “Greatest Football Writing”, but still believes this was a mistake. Dave contributes sketches to comedy shows and used to co-host a radio sketch show. He’s worked with numerous vape companies to develop content for their websites.

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