The study found that bidi smoking was more popular in India than in Bangladesh or Pakistan.
New Delhi: Male bidi smokers are most likely to die or develop cardiovascular diseases, said a study based on South Asian countries. The study, aimed at assessing the association between bidi smoking, health problems and death, was published in The Lancet Global Health.
The study found that bidi smoking was more popular in India than in Bangladesh or Pakistan. The symptoms included chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma attacks, and pneumonia, which were worse than those smoking substance other than bidis.
The study comprising 14,919 men from 158 communities was done in seven centres, including India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, and was coordinated by the Population Health Research Institute in Canada from 2003-2013.
Among the 8,438 non-smokers, 3,321 light smokers, 959 heavy cigarette smokers, and 2,201 heavy bidi smokers that were included in the study, it was seen that heavy bidi users had relatively higher rates and risks of cardiorespiratory symptoms, including wheezing, chronic coughs, sputum, difficulty in breathing, and chest pain. “At the baseline, bidi smoking was associated with higher rates of respiratory impairment as compared with non-smokers and cigarette smokers,” revealed The Lancet Global Health.
Heavy bidi male smokers were mostly from rural communities and had a lower socio-economic status, and the largest impact of smoking was on respiratory events, cited the study.
Researchers noted bidi smoking contributed greatly to the burden of tobacco-related disease and death in South Asia.
Public health workers in India therefore stress on the need for greater tax on tobacco products specially bidi. “Categorizing bidis in the 28% plus cess demerit goods category and imposing a high enough cess on all tobacco products to keep it at current levels of taxation may be one of the most critical public health and revenue decisions that the central and state governments can take which will impact the health and well-being of Indians,” said the Voluntary health Association of India (VHAI).