Who invented Bidis Indian cigarettes

Ronny Gängler - stock.adobe.com

The bizarre pinnacle of prohibitions

In India, e-cigarettes have been completely banned since September 2019. General health is to be improved with the ban. And this despite the fact that around 900,000 people die every year as a result of "classic" tobacco consumption and hardly anyone can afford e-cigarettes. From Alexandra Keller

Just because India is really far away and totally different, the picture hardly triggers any reactions. The common image of children smoking cigarettes on the streets of the great subcontinent. Cigarettes or so-called bidis, in which a leaf of the tendu tree is filled with tobacco and possibly herbs, lit and smoked. Bidis or Beedis are still associated with India's independence from England to this day. Gandhi had a strong influence on this image when he politically supported Indian products and Indian industry, which is why intellectuals soon preferred to set a corresponding smoke signal by smoking bidis. The workers on the Indian tobacco farms, who were plowed from the 17th century, are said to have invented the bidis and when India was part of the British colonial empire and no longer wanted to be, bidis became a glowing symbol of Indian national consciousness.

Land of smokers. Today India is the third largest tobacco producer in the world. In 2017, 2,391,000 tons of tobacco were harvested in China, 880,881 tons in Brazil and 799,960 tons in India - followed by the USA, where 322,120 tons of self-harvested tobacco were counted. The figures show that the tobacco industry is very important to India, 82 billion cigarettes are produced in India every year and consumption is enormous. The country has around 106 million smoking adults. The number of children who smoke is likely to increase, and a 2008 study found that 900,000 people die each year in India as a result of tobacco consumption. An incredible number of Indians smoke each other to death each year and the study authors noted that every fifth death in men and every twentieth death in women between the ages of 30 and 69 can be traced back to tobacco consumption.

When the study was published, the Indian Minister of Health at the time announced that the government would take steps against tobacco abuse, stating that the poor and illiterate in particular should be educated about the risks associated with smoking.

Total ban. It is not known whether or how the government's initiative against tobacco abuse has worked. Given the pandemic-like death rates that would heat up all European donation phones in the event of a disaster, the recent decision by the Indian government is as astonishing as it is bizarre. In September 2019, e-cigarettes were completely banned in India. Anyone who manufactures, imports or exports e-cigarettes, stores or sells them can expect really high fines or a prison sentence of up to one year. Repeat offenders face up to three years imprisonment.

The country's finance minister and not the health minister announced the total ban on steam. Speaking of health ministers. At the beginning of November 2019, he only asked the residents of the smog city of New Delhi to fight the consequences of fine dust by eating vegetables. The Indian capital is currently the city with the highest levels of smog in the world. And it is claimed that anyone who breathes the air for a day in the likewise not small city of Mumbay (formerly Bombay), which together with the catchment area has almost 29 million inhabitants, is exposed to the same burden as if he or she were smoking 100 cigarettes.

Much in India looks bizarre when viewed through European glasses. And against the background of the harmful effects of smog or the 900,000 deaths, also the ban on e-cigarettes. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman justified the government's decision by saying that the consumption of e-cigarettes would have harmful consequences, especially for young people. "It has become very fashionable to try them out and consume them regularly," the finance minister was quoted as saying in the Frankfurter Allgemeine (FAZ), where a Twitter message was also reported that the government hoped the ban would improve general health.

Absurd relations. The thoroughly honorable approach finally gets a hook when it becomes clear that e-cigarettes are considered a luxury product in India that are not produced in India itself. In contrast to tobacco consumption, there are no figures on how many Indians actually use e-cigarettes. In addition, electronic vaporizers are extremely expensive by Indian standards, at least much more expensive than tobacco cigarettes.
India is the only country so far that has decided to completely ban e-cigarettes. The bans that more and more US states are imposing affect the flavoring substances in the liquids that are vaporized with e-cigarettes. At the same time as India, for example, the state of New York banned all flavorings - all except the menthol or tobacco flavor. *
Andrew Cuomo, the governor of the state of New York, had even used an emergency law for the command and stated: "This is a health crisis and it will end today." Because of the vaping of adulterated THC liquids mixed with various oils, illegally bought on the black market had been reported to be seven deaths in the United States and numerous politicians were forced to act immediately. It is estimated that around the world there are 50 million people who vape and around one billion who smoke cigarettes. According to the WHO, eight million people die each year as a result of tobacco consumption. Many of them in India, where the absurd-looking relationship between steamers and smokers climbs to a bizarre peak with the ban on e-cigarettes.