Bidis Cigarettes

Bidis Cigarettes: From a Sleek Packaging to Exotic Cigarettes

image: cbsnews

Bidis cigarettes are not something strange nowadays. This thing has been around for centuries and becomes a popular cigarette in certain countries.

Even though the FDA has banned a few brands of bidis and released the bad effect of this cigarette, many people still cannot move on from this thing.

It might be due to its distinctive flavor of pure tobacco that has not been touched by the machines in the factory.

bidis cigarettes

Bidis Cigarettes Overview

Bidis cigarettes are thin cigarettes or mini-cigar. It contains tobacco flakes and is wrapped by using a Tendu leaf. Later, a string at one end securely tied the whole package or some manufacturers just put adhesive on it.

Bidis originally came from a place in India while the name was coming from the beeda. Beeda (paan) is the Indian-style of preparation of betel leaves and areca nut.

Numerous versions of Beeda exists, containing different spices and ingredients which gives a different flavour, a Marwari word.

The meaning is a mixture of spices, herbs, betel nuts wrapped together inside a piece of leaf.

The making of bidis is very traditional and has been used across South Asia along with some areas in the Middle East. This makes bidis so popular in the entire world.

Making Bidis

Other than that, bidis are affordable in India yet more popular compared to conventional commercial cigarettes, took 48 percent Indian tobacco consumption in 2008.

Nicotine delivered by bidis is higher than regular cigarettes. Those also give a higher level of tar and carbon monoxide.

This is why experts also agree that bidis carry a higher risk of oral cancer and other health concerns.

Still, many people would love to try bidis because of its pure taste considering all process is done by hand.

Making Bidis
image: Wikipedia

Indian Tobacco Cultivation

Bidis (beedi) would not come out to this world if the Indian cultivation in the late 17th century was not established. This was the initial step of the birth of bidis. The first piece was even accidentally made product.

A worker took the leftover of tobacco flakes from the factory and hand-rolling it then wrapped it with a piece of leaf. This thing becomes popular from time to time among the workers.

Even though the commercial bidis had been coming out, it was not that popular until the late of the 1930s. This was also caused by the expansion of tobacco cultivation in India.

On the other hand, Gandhi gave full support for Indian products and Indian industry, whatever it is. Due to this reason, Indian from the educated class preferred to use bidis as part of becoming a good Indian and ditched cigarettes.

Bidis Making
image: India Times

Other than that, Muslim leaders endorsed bidis and called cigarettes as a foreign product back then.

Years later, in the middle of the 20th century, the popularity of bidis made the product got to the most competitive industry class.

During that time, many brands of bidis came out everywhere and commercial productions got very creative to promote each brand. It led to a condition where many factories employing more people to work.

Most of them were male and they worked as bidis rollers.

However, the regulation that got tighter had brought bidis factories declined in production. To deliver the demand of its fans and enthusiasts, bidis turn into a cottage industry.

It means that the work is done at home and women take the job while men will be working for other fields in the industry.

image: bloomberg

The Use of Bidis Cigarettes

Bidis should be puffed more often than regular cigarettes. It makes them lit while it takes effort to do so. Bidis, however, are associated with a lower social class considering anything is so traditional.

Other than that, this stuff is much cheaper than other commercial cigarettes. Meanwhile, those who claim to stand on the higher social class smoke bidis out of the spotlight. The culture should be changed and is currently changing after all.

Smoking Bidis

If you go to the United State, you will find the bidis are surprisingly treated like other commercial cigarettes. The tax rates are the same as them and they also need to get a tax stamp as well.

Also, the package should be equipped with the Surgeon General’s warning, just like other commercial cigarettes.

Bidis have become legal stuff in the UK. The tax rates and other stuff are also treated the same as cigarettes. One should be at least 18 years old of age to purchase them and other cigarettes.

Some bidis are made with flavors. However, the United States and Canada have banned any flavored cigarettes as well as flavored bidis.

Making Bidi
image: The Hindu Business Line

The Making of Bidis

Since bidis are a cottage industry, the rolling process is done at home. All rollers are women and they work at their home every day to roll the bidis.

At one day, employees can make up to 1,000 pieces of bidis and it uses as many as 450 grams of tobacco flakes.

This routine makes the nicotine levels in those workers’ bodies increased even though they do not consume tobacco directly.

Bangladesh is another country that makes bidis in a big amount after India. This country also employs underage kids to roll bidis for the sake of “in response to consumer preferences”. However, this thing is not only happening in bidis industry.

Tendu leaves are one of the most excellent natural wrappers in the world. The abundant amount of plants makes them readily available anytime.

Before using the leaves to wrap the tobacco flakes mixture, the leaves are dried under the sun for at least three days.

Once the leaves are dried enough, they are ready to be used as a wrapper and make bidis.

Bidi Cigarettes
image: cbsnews

Bidis in the United States

The health authorities in the United States referred bidis to as cigarettes with training wheels. The overall look and flavor of bidis are very appealing to many users especially young smokers. This is similar to clove cigarettes.

Since bidis are also produced with flavors, this thing makes young smokers love to have it for so many reasons.

According to young smokers in the United States, they prefer bidis than conventional commercial cigarettes due to the fact that they can be obtained more easily. Also, bidis cigarettes give a “rush” of nicotine while the shape is like marijuana joints.


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