Pungently sweet smelling, often chocolate, lemon-lime, mango, strawberry or mint flavored bidis are a small cigarette resembling a marijuana joint. They are powerfully stronger than a cigarette and appeal to kids. Sold in small colorful packs and often lacking health warnings, kids think they are healthier than cigarettes. Sometimes they are even found in health food stores.
· Bidis are more dangerous than regular cigarettes. Bidis have about 3 times as much nicotine and carbon monoxide and 5 times the tar;
· Bidis are more addictive because of the extra nicotine;
· Bidis pose greater risks for throat, mouth and lung cancer than do regular cigarettes;
· Bidis smokers have to puff an average of about 28 times, compared to nine puffs for cigarettes, exposing them to more extremely addictive nicotine;
· Bidis are hand rolled, often by indentured children. One brand, Mangalore Ganesh, has been banned in the U.S. because of child labor violations.
One study shows Bidis can actually stunt growth when smoked during adolescence. They speed up the closing of growth plates in the long bones, effectively stopping them from ever reaching their full height potential.
Source: Centers for Disease Control, Journal of Epidemiology on Community Health
August 29, 2000