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article imageFeds to ban four new cigarette brands including Camel Crush Bold

By Nathan Salant     Sep 16, 2015 in Health
Washington - U.S. health regulators halted the sale of four cigarette brands Tuesday after finding that R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co had made changes to the products without adequate safety review.
The order gives R.J. Reynolds 30 days to pull the four brands -- Camel Crush Bold, Pall Mall Deep Set Recessed Filter regular and menthol, and Vantage Tech 13 -- or convince the U.S. Food & Drug Administration to change its mind.
"The different characteristics of these products raise different issues of public health," the FDA's tobacco director, Mitch Zeller, told reporters on a conference call, according to the Associated Press.
"In our mind, these changed features raised questions for us," Zeller said.
But the FDA also said the ban was not a judgment on the safety of the banned products, just a penalty for not complying with new safety review requirements.
The rules require new cigarette brands to carry the same health risks as products already on the market, but RJ Reynolds did not prove this, the agency said.
R.J. Reynolds said in a written statement that it "strongly disagrees" with the FDA decision.
"Our submissions to the agency on these brands were comprehensive and we believe we effectively demonstrated substantial equivalence," the company said.
"We're examining all of our options at this time," the statement said.
The ban marks the first time the FDA has taken such action against a major brand such as Camel, the AP said.
The agency has banned 12 new products so far this year.
“These decisions were based on a rigorous, science-based review designed to protect the public from the harms caused by tobacco use,” Zeller said.
The Camel Crush Bold ban is particularly noteworthy because Camel Crush, which features a capsule that users must break if they want additional menthol flavor, it is one of the most popular cigarette brands used by youth smokers, according to the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids.
"The FDA's action is a critical step in preventing the introduction of tobacco products that may be more appealing to youth, more addictive or more harmful," the group said in a statement.
But the ban imposed Tuesday only applies to Camel Crush Bold and not to other flavors of Camel Crush cigarettes, the AP said.
FDA officials also said Tuesday that they had approved 257 products for marketing since the new regulations took effect in 2009, and had rejected 113 applications.
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