Natural, Additive-Free Cigarette Makers Must Prove Fewer Health Risks: FDA

| Aug 28, 2015 10:46 AM EDT

American Spirit tobacco

American Spirit has become a popular cigarette brand due to it being marketed as healthier through descriptions such as "natural" and also "additive-free." However, the United States' Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a warning that they do not provide fewer health risks to people than other brands.

The FDA has started sending out its first-ever warning letters to cigarette manufacturers that have been advertising their products as "natural." They have tried to give the impression that the products create fewer health risks compared to regular smokes.

Winston and American Spirit are some of the companies that received the FDA's letters. Such companies advertise their brands as "natural" or "additive-free."

Mitch Zeller is the director of the FDA's Center for Tobacco Products. He explained that the FDA must verify that tobacco companies avoid using such terms unless their claims have scientific support.

The manufacturers have 15 working days to comply with the FDA's regulations about the issues regarding the products' claims and marketing. If they fail to comply, the FDA could enforce penalties, seizure, and criminal prosecution, according to KMOV.

The FDA started regulating tobacco products in 2009. Its new campaign follows one in 2010 to ban the terms "mild" and "light," according to Gizmodo.

Cigarette companies must secure a permit to refer to their tobacco products as being of "modified risk." However, "natural" brands such as American Spirit have not convinced the FDA yet.

"Light" and "low-tar" cigarettes were developed in the 1950s after the invention of filters. The filter was designed after several scientific studies linked cigarettes and cancer.

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