What Are Bidis And Why Is The FDA Regulating Tobacco Products?
Last week, FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products issued their first regulatory action since being established by an act of Congress in 2009. An Indian company, Jash International, was instructed to cease U.S. import, distribution, and sales of four brands of bidis, a tobacco smoking product that’s rolled in the leaves of the tendu plant, instead of paper, then tied with string. The specific bidi products are sold as Sutra Bidis Red, Sutra Bidis Menthol, Sutra Bidis Red Cone, and Sutra Bidis Menthol Cone.
An article in The Times of India suggests that Jash International is not a particularly well-known company in its home country, so this first FDA warning might be serving as a shakedown cruise for exercising their regulatory might. The company was cited for not registering their products with the FDA, an application that would likely have been turned down anyway since bidis do not meet the standards of having a “predicate product” sold in the U.S. as of February 15, 2007. What that means is that tobacco products sold as of that date serve as the standard to which new tobacco products are compared with for “substantial equivalence.”