Cigarettes From India Toxic?


CigarettesReports show Tobacco is used by a gigantic amount of people throughout the world and it is not always the same. The recent banning of four brands of Indian Bidi cigarettes by FDA, has viewers wondering if these cigarettes from India may be toxic.

The cigarettes in question are imported from India from the Jash International Company. Reportedly the tobacco manufacturer does not want to disclose all of the ingredients added to the Bidi cigarettes, giving FDA officials reason to implement their power to remove products like these from the market that do not meet basic health standards, or may pose an added health risk to individuals using the product.

Bidi cicarettes

According to reports, Bidis are mostly common with American and European adolescents. In fact some studies suggest that many American adults have never even heard of the cigarettes. Bidis, or Beedis as they are also spelled are an imported tobacco product that is hand rolled in leaves from the Tendu tree. They are extremely popular in India and many businesses and store owners depend soley on the sale of the cigarettes just to “keep the doors open.”

The four Varieties of Bidis that have fallen under the ban are the Sutra brand reds, Sutra red cones, Sutra menthol and the Sutra menthol cones. FDA states that regulators need to be aware of every ingredient in all products here in the U.S., imported or otherwise, if they are to be sold to the American public. Regulators mention the importance of Americans being able to trust that the products they are purchasing will not contain something hazardous that may harm them. In many places around the world studies have shown a lack of regulations when it comes to chemicals used in the manufacturing of products. Products like toys for children have been shown to contain alarming levels of toxins such as lead used in the paint, which could cause serious health problems for kids handling or playing with the toys.

According to the FDA even if the Cigarettes from India are not toxic at all, they still must meet federal regulators standards. Many viewers support the decision to ban the cigarettes due the fact that they have become quite a novelty amongst American youths. One parent noted “we have enough things in our own country that cause health hazards, and diseases like cancer.” Adding “we don’t need our kids receiving unknown foreign substances, that aren’t even regulated.”

Another concern for officials was the price of the Bidis, which are sometimes 75 percent less in cost than American brand cigarettes. Some feel this allows young people more access to them by way of being more able to afford them compared to the often times $10 per pack that American cigarette retailers charge.

Regulators admit that it is unlikely they will ever be able to stop young people from illegally experimenting with tobacco. However they say FDA can and will continue to do something in the way of regulations when companies wish to hide ingredients in products like imported cigarettes whether from India or elsewhere that may or may not have toxic properties.

By, Aaron Thompson


NY Times

CBS news

Times of India