(Reuters) – U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar told CNBC on Friday he was “completely in support” of the Food and Drug Administration’s proposed crackdown on e-cigarettes.

“We are not going to permit e-cigarettes to become a pathway to nicotine dependency” or the use of combustible tobacco, Azar said in an interview with CNBC.

He said he disagreed with a belief that banning e-cigarettes would push youth towards traditional cigarettes.

FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said on Wednesday the agency was considering a ban on flavored e-cigarettes from Juul Labs and other companies as it grapples with an “epidemic” of youth e-cigarette use that threatened to create a new generation of nicotine addicts.

(Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Bernadette Baum)