For the first time ever, the Food and Drug Administration is ordering a halt in sale and distribution of four tobacco products.
The four products—Sutra Bidis Red, Sutra Bidis Menthol, Sutra Bidis Red Cone, and Sutra Bidis Menthol Cone—are made by Jash International, and are thin, hand-rolled cigarettes that are filled with tobacco, wrapped in leaves, and tied with a string.
The FDA said Jash International failed to provide it with evidence that its products were equivalent to products already approved and on the market. Under the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, the agency now has the power to forbid the sale of products that do meet these standards.
“Because the company failed to meet the requirement of the Tobacco Control Act, the FDA’s decision means that, regardless of when the products were manufactured, these four products can no longer be legally imported or sold or distributed through interstate commerce in the United States," Mitch Zeller, director of the FDA's Center for Tobacco Products, said in a statement.
Jash International declined to comment to Reuters.
The FDA says that any existing inventory can now be seized without further notice, and that companies that continue to sell these products will be met with legal enforcement by the FDA.