According to the Washington Post, the preliminary data is from the National Youth Tobacco Survey, and it shows a 75 percent increase in e-cigarette use among high school students in 2018 compared to 2017.
Now, Gottlieb is coordinating the largest scale initiative to enforce regulations against selling e-cigarettes to-date.
Almost all e-cigarettes contain nicotine, and research shows that young adults who smoke or who use e-cigarettes are much more likely to binge drink than nonsmokers, the health department said.
Juul and four other manufacturers, which Gottlieb said control 97% of the market, are now required to provide plans to mitigate youth sales within 60 days or face potential criminal or civil action.
Though Juul is by far the most popular e-cigarette device, two other companies, Vuse and Blu, have also received warnings. Teen use of electronic cigarettes is growing-especially the Juul device, which is considered so fetch in many underage circles that it has reached an "epidemic proportion", writes the FDA, according to the New York Times.
Gottlieb said that e-cigarette manufacturers have been given ample time to change their ways.
The company, which sells pods with flavours such as mango, mint and creme, also defended such products, which it said help adult customers trying to quit traditional smoking.
The FDA said it has sent more than 1,100 warning letters to stores for the illegal sale of e-cigarettes to under-age vapers and issued fines to another 131 shops.
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The appeal of e-cigarettes to teens is widespread and has raised alarms in other countries, including the UK.
"We need to go further", said Michael Bloomberg, the billionaire philanthropist who has worked for years to reduce tobacco use.
Juul owns about 72 percent of the US market for e-cigarette sales, according to Wells Fargo.
These levels of nicotine are highly addictive, particularly to the developing brains of children and teenagers. Failing to do so, or making unsatisfactory efforts, "could mean requiring these brands to remove some or all of their flavored products that may be contributing to the rise in youth use from the market until they receive premarket authorization and otherwise meet all of their obligations under the law", the FDA statement says.
Several of the manufacturers targeted by the FDA - Juul, MarkTen, Vuse, Blu and Logic - issued statements agreeing with the need to limit access to minors and announcing their willingness to work with the FDA to reach a solution. The company has more than two-thirds of the US e-cigarette market, according to Nielsen data.
In addition, the FDA on Wednesday issued 12 warning letters to online retailers for selling misleadingly labeled and/or advertised e-liquids resembling kid-friendly food products such as candy and cookies. As part of that plan, Gottlieb has suggested some smokers could be directed toward alternative products that deliver nicotine without the carcinogens of cigarettes.
In April the agency launched a Youth Tobacco Prevention Plan, created to address some of the known public health risks, such as flavors, that contribute to adolescent use of e-cigarettes.
"I'm here to tell them today that this prior approach is over", he said.