The Price of Smoking a Bidi


Worker smoking bidi India is the third largest consumer of tobacco in the world. Its not cigarettes that majority of Indians prefer but bidis, which constitute 70% of the tobacco smoked.

Bidis are more harmful then cigarettes, as they give more toxins like carbon monoxide, ammonia, phenol and hydrogen cyanide and contains more tar and nicotine than conventional cigarettes. So it causes more damage to the body then a cigarette.

Less tax on Bidis, more deaths

Smoking bidi is a growing menace in India with 100 million people smoking bidis, and 6 lakh deaths caused every year. The younger generation try bidi under the belief that its less harmful, since its cheap and has no warning label. Many a times, tobacco used in bidis may be mixed with flavors such as chocolate, vanilla, clove or pineapple to make them attractive to youth.

Bidis are smoked primarily by men, especially in rural areas, and are rolled by women, often in their homes. Since it provides large-scale employment, bidis are under-taxed compared to cigarettes.

A roller can make about 1,000 bidis a day and is paid Rs 40 to Rs 80 for the day’s work. But 10% of all female bidi workers and 5% of all male bidi workers are children under 14, and nearly 50% of these workers ultimately die of tuberculosis or asthma.

Tax on bidis are currently just one-twelfth of the tax levied on non-filter micro cigarettes (purchased by the poor) and just 2% of the tax on more expensive standard filters cigarettes.

But if the price of a pack of bidis was doubled from about Rs 4 to Rs 8, or if the excise duty was at par with other tobacco products it can reduce the consumption of tobacco.


unpretentious_diva said... @ January 31, 2009 at 4:21 PM

I specified on the issue properly here in a report about the interference of government in tobacco market and how it is increasing the rate of cancer.
Banning Cigarettes increases rate of cancer

unpretentious_diva said... @ January 31, 2009 at 4:28 PM

But if the price of a pack of bidis was doubled from about Rs 4 to Rs 8, or if the excise duty was at par with other tobacco products it can reduce the consumption of tobacco.

You are surely mad and anti-human, Yes you want people to die of hunger and starvation.

Even without your anti-poor drives, 46 farmers are commiting suicide everyday in India. With your anti-poor wishes, I am sure it will reach to 460 suicides everyday.

Do you even know what increasing taxes means?

Do you even know what are taxes?

Tax means loot and theft.
What really are taxes

P.S I wish you publish my comment without censoring them. Why?
Because it matters about India. Because it shows how anti-indian this post is.
Just because you hate tobacco, doesn't mean that you will do things to kill people.

Death is inevitable. but it is surely better to live a life without starving without feeling the pain of poverty.

unpretentious_diva said... @ January 31, 2009 at 5:02 PM

A new science report claims that salt increases cancer risk

So by going with your logic, we must raise tax on salt too?

Remember Gandhiji's satyagrah?

In fact if you live, if you breath, you can become a cancer patient.

So lets start taxing life, or better lets commit mass suicide. No life, no cancer, best remedy.

Reason For Liberty

Sagar said... @ February 5, 2009 at 2:58 PM

damn this diva's pissed!
hehehe but yeah i kinda agree with her.
increasing taxes are no way no control anything.
people do realise the ill effects of smoking anything, from tobacco to marijuana. but they do it because they wish to. so let them already!
all people can do is spread awareness to make them quit. and that's all they should try.
creating a social stigma around smoking will just drive them further down the grave they're already digging.

Anonymous said... @ May 1, 2009 at 11:08 PM

funny, the only reason they are concerned with bidis is because it cant be controlled like a manufactured pack of smokes, they are being hand rolled at home. Do you really think the government really cares about peoples health?!?!? no, absolutly not, they care about the tax money they are missing out on, bottom line! If they cared about poor farmers health they would not worry about bidi rollers, they would make sure these same poor folk have proper food and health care. leave their meager, self-earned wages alone!! tax the rich and see the bitching that starts!

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