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F.D.A. Bans Four Bidi Products From Indian Company

Update Date: Feb 24, 2014 10:11 AM EST

The Food and Drug Administration on Friday ordered four bidi cigarette brands removed from the market. For the first time F.D.A. has taken such a step after being given the legal authority in 2009. 

Since June last year, the agency has rejected 13 new tobacco products which according to F.D.A. scientists posed health risks. 

According to agency officials, four cigarette brands made by Jash International will be banned. The four brands are Sutra Bidis Red, Sutra Bidis Menthol, Sutra Bidis Red Cone and Sutra Bidis Menthol Cone. In the next 30 days if these products still remain on shelves, the agency would begin seizing. 

"It's a big deal," said Matthew L. Myers, the president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, an advocacy group, to New York Times. "This is first time the F.D.A. has ever ordered a product to be removed from the market for broad public health concerns."

"It's also significant that they did so because the manufacturer was unable or unwilling to provide sufficient evidence that the product didn't raise new or different concerns for public health," he added.

Bidis- thin, hand-rolled cigarettes stuffed in tobacco wrapped in leaves from tendu trees - are mostly popular in India but their novelty appealed many adolescents in the country. 

"We don't want any tobacco products out there that we don't know what their ingredients are," said David B. Abrams, executive director of the Schroeder Institute for Tobacco Research and Policy Studies at Legacy, according to NYT. "But also because we don't want anything out there that's inexpensive, and therefore easier for kids to get a hold of."

"The F.D.A. is saying, 'You can't do this. We want to know down to the nanogram what little things you're putting in cigarettes', " he added.

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