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A February report by Wells Fargo predicted the U.S. e-cigarette market will hit $5.5 billion this year, a 25 percent growth rate from last year.

About 70 percent of sales have come from rechargeable liquid nicotine refills.

The researchers credited industry growth to advances in the technology customers use to vape. Wells Fargo predicts consumers will eventually shift to other products that the industry markets as less harmful than tobacco cigarettes, including cigarettes that heat tobacco instead of burning it.