Crippled by struggling sales and increased scrutiny from regulators, vape giant JUUL is planning to pull out of several international markets by year’s end, including Austria, Belgium, Portugal, France and Spain, BuzzFeed reported.

juul pods 375x210 JUUL scales back international operationsJUUL will retreat from all aforementioned countries in July, but wait until the end of the year before pulling out of France. The measure will result in the layoff of hundreds of employees in those countries. Earlier this month, the company announced that it would cut about a third of its 3,000-person workforce and move its headquarters from San Francisco to Washington, D.C., to be in closer proximity to U.S. regulators.

JUUL will continue to maintain a large presence in Europe, maintaining sales in Czechia, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Poland, Switzerland and Ukraine, as well as two of its biggest markets in Russia and the United Kingdom.

According to a JUUL employee who spoke to BuzzFeed on the condition of anonymity, the cuts are not related to the coronavirus pandemic, but based on financial strategy. Sales in Austria, Belgium and Portugal were just too small to bother sustaining. While sales in Spain and France remain strong, it’s just not worth dealing with regulators in those countries, according to the employee.

The European Union has strict vape regulations, enforcing a nicotine limit for vape products at 20 milligrams per milliliter of fluid. JUUL pods contain as much as 59 milligrams of nicotine per milliliter. Comparatively, the U.S. has no mandated cap on nicotine levels.

The U.S. regulators have cracked down on JUUL over marketing its high-nicotine products to youth, blaming the company for creating a new generation of nicotine addicts. “No EU country has experienced the rise in popularity of e-cigarettes among youth that has been observed in the U.S.,” Public health researcher Filippos Filippidis told BuzzFeed.

The source said that JUUL will also refrain from expanding into new markets outside Europe for the next several months. The company had been eyeing a lunch in New Zealand. Other changes include postponing plans to stop sales in Indonesia.

Beasley Allen lawyers Joseph VanZandt and Sydney Everett, together with Mass Torts Section Head Andy Birchfield, are currently representing several individuals who are suing the top U.S. vape maker JUUL for the negative impact its products have had on their lives. They also have filed lawsuits on behalf of school districts nationwide, which seek to protect students and recover resources spent fighting the vaping epidemic.

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