Sunday, July 14, 2024

A top exec at upstart health insurer Oscar just joined the board of vape company Juul


Joel Klein, a top executive at health insurer Oscar Health, has joined the board of directors of Juul Labs, an e-cigarette company that’s landed itself in hot water over the years for allegedly marketing its products to school kids.

Klein is the chief policy and strategy officer at Oscar, which went public earlier this month in an IPO that valued the company at $8.6 billion. He previously spent eight years as the chancellor of New York City public schools under former Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Politico first reported Klein’s appointment.

Joel Klein. Business Insider
Joel Klein. Business Insider

“I believe the company must continue to play a critical role in reducing the devastating harm caused by smoking,” Klein said in a statement emailed to Insider. “To accomplish that paramount goal, Juul Labs must, first and foremost, continue preventing underage use of its products.”

Oscar declined to comment on Klein’s appointment.

Juul has come under fire for playing a role in creating a youth vaping epidemic.

In 2019, a House subcommittee held hearings that revealed Juul had marketed its addictive vapes to children and teenagers, and paid schools and summer camps to give presentations to students. The US Food and Drug Administration and a group of 39 state attorneys general have also investigated the company’s marketing practices.

Juul has since halted all advertising and stopped selling fruit-flavored vapes that kids liked. In an email to employees, Juul CEO K.C. Crosthwaite said Klein would help hold the company accountable as it works to combat underage vape use.

“As our company continues our efforts to combat underage usage, invest in science and research, and execute against our product road map for adult smokers, Joel and the entire board will help ensure that we deliver on our mission,” he wrote.

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