Juul has a new program to pitch its e-cigarette to companies and insurers who want to help their employees stop smoking cigarettes as the company continues to stave off criticism that its product has caused an epidemic in teen smoking.
CNBC has learned that the company hired former Cardinal Health executive Douglas Roberts in the fall to lead its new “enterprise markets team,” which is focused on striking deals with health plans, providers, self-insured employers and the public sector.
The team now includes 17 employees, Roberts told CNBC.
In an interview, Roberts said he decided to take the job with Juul because it was clear to him that large hospitals across the country were looking at ways to make a big impact across their patient population and the role felt like a “natural opportunity” to do that. He has spent the past few months meeting with potential customers, including large employers in the private and public sector, though he declined to name them.
“It’s pretty consistent what we’re hearing, which is what’s out there today is not working, and people are really looking to get their arms around how do they provide alternatives to large groups and large masses of people who really haven’t had effective alternatives,” he said.
Roberts said it’s still early, but Juul is planning to design a program to help smokers switch from combustible cigarettes to e-cigarettes. He acknowledged that Juul’s device has not been evaluated as a smoking cessation tool and therefore can’t market itself as one like nicotine gums or patches.
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