Six packets of bidis cigarettes, India, 1975-1980

1975-1980 in India

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Group shot of a collection of 6 packets of bidis cigarettes, one of a selection of Drugs and related material from
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Collection of 6 packets of bidis cigarettes, one of a selection of drugs and related material from 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.


Object Number:
overall (single packet): 75 mm x 38 mm x 38 mm, 0.008 kg
cigarette: 4 mm x 65 mm x 6 mm, 0.001 kg
  • furnishing and equipment
  • tools & equipment

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