SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – The CEO of San Francisco-based Juul is apologizing to parents of teenagers who have become addicted to his company’s products, as levels of youth vaping reach epidemic levels.

CEO Kevin Burns issued the apology in a documentary about vaping set to air on CNBC on Monday night.

When Burns was asked how he would defend the company to a parent of a child hooked on vaping, the CEO said, “First of all, I’d tell them I’m sorry their child is using the product.”

“It’s not intended for them. I hope there was nothing we did that made it appealing to them,” Burns went on to say. “As a parent of a 16-year-old, I’m sorry for them and I have empathy for them, in terms of what challenges they are going through.”

E-cigarette use among youth has risen significantly in recent years, with more than 20 percent of 12th graders saying they have vaped nicotine in the past month, according to a survey by the National Institute on Drug Abuse released late last year. The same survey showed vaping was on the rise among 8th and 10th graders.

Critics have also criticized its marketing and flavors that appeal to teens. In response, Juul has shut down its Facebook and Instagram accounts, and pulled some of its flavors from retailers.

Last month, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed an ordinance that would restrict the sale of electronic cigarettes citywide. The measure’s fate will ultimately be decided by the city’s voters this November.

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