(Reuters) – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Monday warned 10 manufacturers and retailers against selling or producing products likely to promote e-cigarette use among teenagers.

The FDA in the past few years has cracked down on the sale of e-cigarettes and tobacco products to minors, particularly those developed by Altria Group-owned Juul Labs Inc, but is yet to pass any industry-wide restrictions.

The agency’s letters to Vaprwear Gear LLC, Vapewear LLC, Wizman Ltd, EightCig LLC, Ejuicepack LLC, Vape Royalty LLC, VapeCentric Inc, Dukhan Store, VapeSourcing, and Shenzhen Uwell Technology Co Ltd warned them against marketing products such as a backpack or a sweatshirt designed with stealth pockets to hold and conceal an e-cigarette.

“The FDA is disturbed by some of these new products being marketed to children and teens by promoting the ease with which they can be used to conceal product use,” said Mitch Zeller, director of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products.

The FDA also said it was against the firms selling vaping liquids that imitate food flavours such as candy or feature popular cartoon characters such as SpongeBob SquarePants.

According to CDC data, teens and adults under 25 accounted for all of the growth in e-cigarette use between 2015 and 2018. Use of e-cigarettes by high-school students shot up by 78% between 2017 and 2018, data from the CDC and the FDA show. [https://reut.rs/35caLGx]

(Reporting By Mrinalika Roy in Bengaluru; Editing by Ramakrishnan M.)