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Comparison of the nicotine content of tobacco used in bidis and conventional cigarettes
  1. Jennifer L Malsona,
  2. Kristi Simsb,
  3. Ram Murtyb,
  4. Wallace B Pickwortha
  1. aNational Institute on Drug Abuse, Intramural Research Program, Baltimore, Maryland, USA, bMurty Pharmaceuticals Inc, Lexington, Kentucky, USA
  1. Wallace Pickworth, PhD, NIDA, Intramural Research Program, Addiction Research Center, 5500 Nathan Shock Drive, Baltimore, MD 21224, USAwpickwo{at}


OBJECTIVE To compare the nicotine content of 12 unfiltered brands of bidi cigarettes (hand rolled cigarettes imported from India) with 8 popular brands of filtered and unfiltered US and conventional cigarettes from India.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES Identical laboratory procedures were used to determine nicotine content (in duplicate) and physical characteristics.

RESULTS The nicotine concentration in the tobacco of bidi cigarettes (21.2 mg/g) was significantly greater than the tobacco from the commercial filtered (16.3 mg/g) and unfiltered cigarettes (13.5 mg/g).

CONCLUSIONS Bidi cigarettes contain higher concentrations of nicotine than conventional cigarettes. Therefore, it is logical to presume that bidi smokers are at risk of becoming nicotine dependent. These findings belie a popular belief among US teens that bidis are a safe alternative to commercial cigarettes.

  • bidis
  • beedies
  • youth

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