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The companies sell Vuse, Blu, Juul, MarkTen XL, and Logic e-cigarette brands, which account for 97 percent of USA e-cigarette sales, according to FDA.

"I use the word epidemic with great care", said FDA commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb.

In response to a nationwide undercover investigation of brick-and-mortar and online stores over the summer, the FDA levied civil fines ranging from $279 to $11,182 on e-cigarette retailers found to have sold their products to minors and issued more than 1,300 warning letters.

In April, JUUL sent thousands of pages of records to be reviewed by the FDA - but apparently, it didn't bode well for the nicotine king.

This use by children and teens is a concern to the FDA because the developing adolescent brain is particularly vulnerable to nicotine addiction.

Each company must submit to FDA within 60 days plans on how they will address the widespread youth access and use of their products. Officials said 131 of the retailers will have to pay penalties.

"Kids should not smoke or use any tobacco products".

The FDA says it's trying to balance two goals: Keeping electronic cigarettes available to adults who don't want to start smoking traditional cigarettes or are trying to quit and keeping the e-cigarettes out of the hands of young people.

In his remarks, Gottlieb criticized e-cigarette manufacturers for failing to address teen use of their products. "It's aimed at retail and online sales of e-cigarettes to minors". "Clearly the FDA knows who the industry culprits are in this epidemic and as such should exercise its full regulatory authority over these products rather than allow the industry to voluntarily self-correct".

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So now we have to prove that and do it again and again and again, and see if we can do so. "We will see if we can do so". Klopp, though, stressed that there will be plenty more obstacles for his team to overcome in the rest of the campaign.

The threatened Wednesday to yank flavored e-cigarettes from shelves unless companies find ways to prevent sales to children, saying their use has reached epidemic levels among minors and is an unacceptable trade-off for helping adults wean off regular cigarettes.

"We're now actively evaluating how we'd implement such a policy", Gottlieb said. The brands will no longer be largely immune from regulations simply because they were already on the market in August 2016 when the FDA announced e-cigarettes would be regulated like other tobacco products.

Under Wednesday's FDA announcement, the five largest e-cigarette manufacturers will have 60 days to produce plans to stop underage use of their products. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 16.2 percent of high school seniors say they've used an e-cigarette in the past month - which is about 40 percent more than the 11.4 percent of 12th graders who say they've smoked.

Dr Gottlieb announced a number of steps the FDA plans to take.

The FDA stated that although e-cigarettes can potentially help adult smokers move away from traditional cigarettes, that effort can't come at the expense of a whole new generation becoming addicted to nicotine.

There has been noticeable progress, though federal agencies say far too many youths still use tobacco products.

The agency warned companies about labeling and flavors that attract or target kids, and about distributing products in easy-to-hide packages that could pass for candy. British American, which produces Camel cigarettes, climbed as much as 6.4 percent in London, the biggest intraday increase in 10 years. He said in June tobacco companies "better step up and step up soon" but he didn't divulge what consequences the industry could face - until now.

If we had an affordable, easy-to-use device that eliminated 90 percent of the health problems associated with HIV or cervical cancer in exchange for relatively minor risks and side effects, we would consider it monstrous to withhold that product from the market. They're generally considered a less unsafe alternative to regular cigarettes.

Imperial Brands unit Fontem Ventures said it would work to further strengthen youth access prevention policies and procedures.