Bidis, what the hell are they? And why did the FDA just ban them?


The FDA just took its first action to actually ban a tobacco product — bidis.

I have to be honest, never heard of ’em before.  The FDA last week banned Sutra Bidis Red, Sutra Bidis Menthol, Sutra Bidis Red Cone and Sutra Bidis Menthol Cone. It’s the first substantive action the FDA has taken against a tobacco product since Obama signed legislation giving the agency expanded power over tobacco back in 2009.

What is a bidi? According to the Centers for Disease Control, they are:

… thin, hand rolled cigarettes that are made mostly in India and other Southeast Asian countries. The tobacco is wrapped in a tendu or temburni leaf, and tied with a colorful string. They come in flavors like chocolate, cherry or mango or may be unflavored. They have a higher amount of nicotine and tar and produce more carbon monoxide than traditional cigarettes.

That 2009 law banned candy-flavoured cigarettes (but not candy-flavoured cigars), because studies showed that 35 percent of teens start smoking cigarettes by first smoking candy-flavoured cigarettes.

So, not only do bidis have candy flavourings, they also have a higher level of nicotine, tar and carbon monoxide than traditional cigarettes.

2 thoughts on “Bidis, what the hell are they? And why did the FDA just ban them?”

  1. I heard about bidis. They sound awful for your lungs. Maybe electro-cigs will help everyone quit or at least not get the big chemical hit.

  2. I think I mentioned it before, the guys who guided our tour of North India both died from heart attacks attributed to heavy bidi smoking per their MD. I was shocked to learn that one was my age and the other younger by 3 or so years. They looked 20 years my senior and were haggard with skin like leather.

    I think bidis are the most dangerous and disgusting of all cigs.

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