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US bans Indian bidis cigarettes

by caribdirect
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Archiman Bhaduri for CaribDirect

Staff Writer – Archi

India news. US regulators have banned four types of small cigarettes known as bidis made by an Indian company, marking the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) first-ever oversight action against a tobacco product.

Bidis are small, hand-rolled cigarettes that contain tobacco wrapped in leaves from a tendu tree, and may come in various flavors. US authorities say bidis contain levels of nicotine, tar and carbon monoxide several times greater than normal cigarettes.

The FDA move applies to four varieties made by Jash International, which a regulatory spokeswoman described as an Indian company with headquarters in Illinois. The ban came about because the products were found to be substantially different from existing tobacco products on the market as of 2007, and did not meet new regulatory requirements, the FDA said.

The order applies to Sutra Bidis Red, Sutra Bidis Menthol, Sutra Bidis Red Cone, and Sutra Bidis Menthol Cone. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has warned that bidis contain higher levels of nicotine, tar and carbon monoxide than conventional cigarettes.

“Smoke from a bidi contains three to five times the amount of nicotine as a regular cigarette and places users at risk for nicotine addiction,” an official said. Two per cent of high school students and 1.7 per cent of middle school students smoke bidis, according to a 2011 survey.

Photo courtesy www21foodcom

Photo courtesy www.21food.com

The FDA was granted authority to regulate tobacco products in 2009 as a result of the Tobacco Control Act, signed into law by President Barack Obama. The law is aimed particularly at curbing smoking among young people. Some 18 percent of people in the United States smoke. Tobacco use kills 480,000 Americans each year and is the nation’s leading cause of preventable death.

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