The American Medical Association went to court Wednesday seeking to halt distribution of R.J. Reynolds' new "smokeless cigarette."

The AMA, in legal papers filed in Arizona and Missouri, where the product is being test-marketed, argued that smokeless cigarettes must be judged "safe for human consumption" before they may be placed on the market.In April, the AMA, the nation's largest and most powerful association of doctors, asked the Food and Drug Administration to regulate the new product as a drug. The FDA is still reviewing that petition, the AMA said.

Reynolds officials did not immediately return calls seeking comment.

The company began selling the product, Premier, in those two states Oct. 1 "without waiting for marketing clearance," the AMA said in a statement.

"The American public has the right to expect that the products they consume have been judged safe for human consumption before being placed on the shelves for sale," said Dr. James Sammons, AMA executive vice president.