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FDA Stops Sales of Hand-Rolled Bidi Cigarettes

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration ordered a stop of Sutra Bidi tobacco product sales Friday. Since the passing of a 2009 law, the decision marks the first time the organization used its authority to prevent a manufacturer from distributing tobacco.

Bidis are thin, hand-rolled cigarettes filled with tobacco, wrapped in leaves from a tendu tree and tied with string. Jash International, the product's manufacturer, did not meet requirements of the Tobacco Control Act, according to the FDA.

Mitch Zelller, director of the FDA's Center for Tobacco Products, said tobacco companies previously controlled which products came on and off the market without any oversight. Under the Tobacco Control Act, regulated products were allowed, pending an application submission from the companies. The FDA is now required to review the applications to decide whether products are good for sale.

The products that will no longer be sold or distributed are Sutra Bidis Red, Sutra Bidis Menthol, Sutra Bidis Red Cone, and Sutra Bidis Methol Cone. They were found not to be "substantially equivalent to tobacco products commercially marketed" in previous years, according to an FDA statement. As a result, they also won't be imported into the U.S.

Companies that continue to sell Bidis may be subject to enforcement actions by the FDA and existing inventory could face seizure without notice.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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