FDA bans a tobacco product for the first time

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the first time used its legal authority to ban certain tobacco products from the market, the agency said Friday.

The FDA said the maker of has ordered the maker of Sutra Bidis Red, Sutra Bidis Menthol, Sutra Bidis Red Cone and Sutra Bidis Menthol Cone to stop selling and distributing them in the United States.

They are thin tobacco-filled cigarettes hand-rolled in leaves from a tendu tree and tied with a string.

The FDA was given authority to regulate the manufacture, distribution and marketing of tobacco products from market under the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act of 2009.

“Historically, tobacco companies controlled which products came on and off the market without any oversight,” said Mitch Zeller, director of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products, in a statement. “But the Tobacco Control Act gave the FDA, a science-based regulatory agency, the authority to review applications and determine which new tobacco products may be sold and distributed under the law in order to protect public health.”

A receptionist at Jash International, the Illinois-based maker, said no one was available to comment.

The FDA said that Jash did not abide by requirement to submit an application by March 2011 and provide information about tobacco products for a review. The products have to be equivalent to products already on the market and can’t raise new questions about public health..

Companies that continue to sell existing inventory after 30 days will be subject to enforcement actions, the FDA said.

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