Juul Labs, Inc., the e-cigarette maker at the center of a mysterious but deadly lung disease linked to vaping, has begun laying-off employees in anticipation of financial hardships set to spring from multi-million dollar lawsuits coming its way and regulators pulling out its items from stores.

As of late Tuesday, nine persons throughout the United States have died from this vaping-related illness. Some 530 persons have been affected by the illness and are seeking medical treatment.

Federal health experts expect a sharp spike in deaths and hospitalizations in the future as vaping remains popular in the U.S., especially among teens.

Juul is being slammed by federal and state health officials and lawmakers for fueling the ongoing teen vaping epidemic stoked by its popular fruit-flavored pods. Juul controls over 70 percent of the U.S. e-cigarette market.

The company is facing a rising tide of lawsuits since the year began. Two of these were filed in court in the last two weeks as news of the deadly lung disease linked to vaping went viral. One of these lawsuits filed by a student from Illinois alleges he was a victim of Juul's deceptive marketing. Adam Hergenreder, a varsity wrestler that had vaped for a year and a half, sued Juul after doctors said his lungs are similar to those of a 70 year-old man.

A man from Kansas was the ninth confirmed death from this vaping-releated disease. The victim was over 50 and had previous underlying health conditions.

U.S. prosecutors in California have opened a criminal probe into Juul.

In the face of mounting legal and criminal woes, Juul is restructuring and firing employees. The company is seeing state, federal and international health regulators remove its fruit flavored pods from store shelves amid a growing public health crisis that has even drawn the attention of president Donald Trump.

Juul hasn't specified how many of its 3,900 employees it will fire in the latest round of layoffs. Apart from showing employees the door, Juul is also slowing hiring and reviewing its job postings, according to sources cited by media.

Federal prosecutors are zooming in on Juul's allegedly deceptive advertising that’s been vastly effective in enticing pre-teens and teens to try its vaping devices and pods.

“Juul products use nicotine salts, which can lead to much more available nicotine,” said Dr. Anne Schuchat, the principal deputy director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), to the House Oversight and Reform Committee’s panel on consumer products.

She also said doctors believe the salts in e-cig pods allow nicotine to “cross the blood brain barrier and lead to potentially more effect on the developing brain in adolescents.”

Dr. Schuchat strongly recommends U.S. consumers avoid all vaping products.

Juul products are not as safe as some think. Electronic cigarettes and pods by Juul, the nation's largest maker of vaping products, are offered for sale at the Smoke Depot on Sept. 13, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois. Scott Olson/Getty Images