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The 13th World Conference on Tobacco OR Health

Building capacity for a tobacco-free world

July 12-15, 2006, Washington, DC, USA

Friday, July 14, 2006 - 2:10 PM

Bidi smoking and delivery of tobacco derived toxins

Wallace Pickworth, PhD and Jennifer Malson, M.S. Battelle CPHRE, 6115 Falls Rd, Suite 200, Baltimore, MD 21209

Bidis are hand-rolled cigarettes produced in India. Although the rural population of India for generations has smoked bidis, highly flavored varieties have been recently exported to the United States. Epidemiological data from adolescent samples in the USA suggests that bidi use is growing especially among urban teens. US teens regard bidi smoking safer than conventional cigarettes, they are also attracted to their flavor, trendy look and low cost. In spite of their use prevalence, relatively little is known about the delivery of nicotine, carbon monoxide (CO) and other components of smoke from bidis. In this presentation the results of two small-sample within subject laboratory experiments are presented. In each study paid research volunteers smoked bidi cigarettes and conventional cigarettes. Bidis took longer to smoke (355 sec) and required more puffs (14 puffs) than conventional cigarettes (298 sec, 10 puffs). Furthermore, they delivered equal or greater amounts of nicotine than conventional cigarettes. Inhalation of the smoke from bidi caused substantial increases in exhaled carbon monoxide and immediately increased heart rate. These data indicate that despite their small size and attractive flavoring bidis have the potential to deliver significant and harmful concentrations of nicotine and other smoke-borne toxins. The plasma nicotine level from bidi smoking is more than ample to initiate and/or sustain tobacco dependence. Contrary to the beliefs of their teenage consumers, bidis are not a safe alternative to conventional cigarettes.