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Six packets of bidis cigarettes, India, 1975-1980

Bidis or beedes are short brown cigarettes made in India and Southeast Asia. They contain tobacco wrapped in temdu or temburni leaves – plants which are native to the region. They are sometimes tied with a coloured string. Bidis became popular as they are cheaper than other cigarettes. They are also exported to many countries. Different flavours such as grape and strawberry are available. Studies of bidi cigarettes have found them to have higher contents of tar, carbon monoxide and nicotine than American cigarettes. Bidis are mostly made by very low paid women.

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