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Report: Juul pulls back from overseas expansion

JUUL Labs Inc. is considering to limit or completely exit its operations in South Korea and delay its launch in New Zealand, The Wall Street Journal reported Jan. 15.

A Juul spokesman reportedly said the company's performance in South Korea is not up to its expectations. "As a result, we need to adjust locally and reset the business. ... We remain fully committed to and optimistic about our long-term future in South Korea," the spokesman told the Journal.

The company, which is facing a backlash amid the rise of youth vaping and several lung-related illnesses linked to specific e-cigarette products, informed over a dozen employees in New Zealand on Jan. 13 that they might be laid off, the report also said. New Zealand's high youth vaping rate is one of the factors that reportedly made Juul delay its launch in the country, the Journal said.

The company has also limited its distribution in Israel and halted plans to launch in the Netherlands amid strict laws and an uncertain regulatory environment, the report added.

The San Francisco-based startup did not immediately respond to S&P Global Market Intelligence's request for comment.

Juul has been under regulatory scrutiny on multiple fronts in the U.S. amid concerns over youth vaping and vaping-related illness. The company recently announced plans to stop selling certain flavored e-cigarette pods in Canada.

In the U.S., Juul suspended sales of its non-tobacco, non-menthol-based flavors in October 2019 amid a U.S. Food Drug and Administration review. The company has also stopped selling mint-flavored pods, known as Mint JUULpods, in the country.