Briefing

Juul considers selling the San Francisco tower it just bought

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The e-cigarette company is soliciting buyers for a 28-storey building it bought five months ago. Juul paid US$1,093 per square foot, one of the highest rates ever paid for an office building in the city. The company planned to move employees into the new office—which is five times bigger than its current headquarters—in 2020. (San Francisco Chronicle)

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Talking point: Juul’s financial outlook has changed drastically since it bought the building. At the time, it had 1,200 employees in the city and was growing rapidly. Now, in the face of intensifying regulatory pushback, it’s planning to scale back its spending by US$1 billion and cut 650 employees—about 16 per cent of its global workforce. The company laid off 245 staff in the Bay Area this week. Juul owns the greatest share of the e-cigarette market by far, placing it at the centre of a panic around the uptick in youth vaping and the more than 2,000 deaths linked to e-cigarette use. In Canada, a new survey of more than 75,000 high school students in B.C., Alberta, Ontario and Quebec found that between 19 and 32 per cent of them had vaped in the last month. Canadian health officials have called for emergency legislation to stop young people from getting addicted to e-cigarettes, but regulators have been slow to act. Parts of the U.S. are moving faster: On Thursday, New York’s state attorney general announced plans to ban flavoured e-cigarettes as early as next week.