FARSHA BIDI WORKS
Mr. Narsinghlal Harjilal
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In for a smoke? Get a beedi!
In India the “bidi” consumption, also spelled, “beedi” or “biri” outpaces that of conventional cigarettes….). They are also referred to as “the poor men’s cigarette” seeing that about 46% of India’s poorest as oppose to 21 % of India’s well off population smokes bidi.
This highly popular hand-rolled cigarette, typically tied on one or both ends with a string, is filled with tobacco flakes and wrapped in tendu leaves (plant native to Asia). Unlike regular cigarettes, bidis must be puffed on frequently to keep them lit so smokers puff on a bidi approximately 28 times as opposed to 9 puffs on a cigarette. Bidis cater also to the young smokers; they look like a marijuana joint and are produced in a wide variety of flavors, including chocolate, mango, vanilla, lemon-lime, mint, pineapple and last but not least, cherry.
Bidis contain about one quarter as much tobacco as full-sized cigarettes, three times the amount of nicotine and carbon monoxide and 5 times as much tar. So, unfortunately and to nobody’s surprise they are far from healthy.
The industry provides work to about 4 million Indians but in reality this amount might be much higher. On average a worker rolls between 750 and 1000 bidis a day. There are 300 major manufactures of branded bidies and thousands of small-scale bidi manufacturers.
Curated and shot by Jay Orlino
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