Smokers have been dealt a fresh blow by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, with R.J. Reynolds Tobacco having four of its products banned by the government agency.
According to the FDA, four the company’s products were outside the scope of federal regulations and Reynolds couldn’t prove they weren’t more harmful than other legal tobacco products. FDA regulations require tobacco companies to prove that new products coming to market pose no more of a health risk than their predecessors.
“These decisions were based on a rigorous, science-based review designed to protect the public from the harms caused by tobacco use,” said Mitch Zeller, director of the Center for Tobacco Products at the FDA.
The ban on the sale and distribution Pall Mall Deep Set Recessed Filter, Pall Mall Deep Set Recessed Filter Menthol, Camel Crush Bold and Vantage Tech 13 took effect immediately after the FDA’s statement Tuesday. Retailers will have 30 days to rid themselves of all the stock they have on hand for the four products.
Anti-tobacco campaigners have long wanted restrictions on innovative menthol products like Camel Crush, which they argue are more appealing to consumers and encourages smoking among teenagers. Camel Crush cigarettes contained a small capsule in the filter that the user would push to release the menthol flavor.
Reynolds, however, argued its products were in line with the FDA regulations and said in a statement that it “strongly disagrees” with the ban. The company’s chief scientific officer said, “we believe that our substantial equivalent applications fully satisfied the guidance the agency provided, and we respectfully disagree with their evaluations of the products in question.”
The ban is unlikely to have a huge impact on the tobacco market as all four products have a combined market share of less than one percent, according to the Wall Street Journal. But the decision could prove the tip of the iceberg for tobacco prohibitions. The FDA is reviewing thousands of applications for cigarettes released between 2007 and 2011 and many could be banned in a similar way to the Reynolds products.
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