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U.S. officials call teen vaping 'epidemic,' weigh flavor ban

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E-cigarette
Julia Boyle shows a customer an electronic cigarette as they shop at the Vapor Shark store in Miami.
Joe Raedle | Getty Images 2014

U.S. health officials say teenage use of e-cigarettes has reached "epidemic" levels and are calling on the industry to address the problem or risk having their flavored products pulled off the market.

The warning from the Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday marks a stark shift in the agency's tone on e-cigarettes, which have become the most used tobacco product among teenagers.

Since 2017, FDA officials have discussed e-cigarettes as a potential tool to ween adult smokers off cigarettes.

But FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb says the agency did not predict an "epidemic of addiction" among youth, mainly driven by flavored products.

Gottlieb says the five largest e-cigarette manufacturers will have 60 days to produce plans to immediately reverse underage use of their products.