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>> The FDA calls teen vaping an epidemic and it's cracking down with graphic warnings to teenagers.>> It can expose your lungs to acrolein, which can cause irreversible damage.>> It's also threatening to ban flavored vaping products like Juul if their makers don't take steps to prevent use by minors.
And amid the clamp down, Reuters has found that a new wave of cheaper Juul knock offs have hit convenience stores, vape shops, and online. Reuters' correspondent, Chris Kurkham.>> As Juul has become popular, a lot of look-alike devices have started appearing on the market in the last two years as well.
It's apparent that many of these devices are on the market without FDA approval, because there's no documentation that they sought regulatory approval. The FDA has recently said they are investigating whether some of these companies are illegally selling the devices.>> That's because the FDA said companies introducing new e-cigarette products after August, 2016 had to first seek agency approval.
But start ups like Kandypen and even major tobacco firms have launched more than a dozen Juul knockoffs in more recent years to compete with Juul, as Juul's market share has surged to more than 70%. Reuters purchased some of these unregulated devices, which like Juul, are small and produce less vapor, making it easier for kids to use discretely.
>> So the FDA is in a bit of a tough position here because e-cigarettes are generally thought of as potentially a way to wean smokers off traditional cigarettes, and they're generally agreed to be less harmful. But on the other side, a lot of teens are getting addicted to these, and there's a question of whether we could create a new generation of nicotine addicts off of these very popular devices.
>> And they pack a big punch. Juul advertises that one of its pods has about the same nicotine strength as a pack of 20 cigarettes. We talked with one user who admits she's hooked.>> I use it when I'm stressed or when I'm working. So I guess that's a little denial.
I am addicted.>> In a statement to Reuters, the FDA said it's investigating whether new products are being sold without authorization, and it issued a warning to companies saying it will take swift action wherever appropriate.