Estimating the Size of Tendu Leaf and Bidi Trade Using a Simple Back-of-the-Envelop Method
Since independence from the British in 1947, India has relied heavily on forest resources, including extraction of tendu leaves, to provide livelihood options for its marginalised tribal and forest-dependent communities. Tendu leaves are used to make bidis, an indigenous leaf-rolled cigarette made from coarse uncured tobacco, tied with a coloured string at one end. It is widely smoked in the Indian subcontinent and is gaining popularity globally, especially in USA, Germany, Middle East, Eastern Europe and Japan (Tobacco Board of India 2010). Bidis are harmful and pose a serious challenge to the health of youth globally and especially in the US where a health advisory warns of the potential harm (CDC http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/tobacco_industry/bidis_kreteks/).
Curiously the use of tendu to make bidis is more recent, with the accidental discovery of tendu as the most suitable leaf to wrap tobacco and make bidis. The tendu tree (Diospyros...
KeywordsForest Department Joint Forest Management Illicit Trade Tobacco Flavour Railway Sleeper
I thank Nevin Wilson, Director, The International Union against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, New Delhi for thoughtful conversations and for permission to research and publish this paper. I thank Tushar Palorkar for diligently checking and validating the estimates derived and Deepak Tamang for his support to preparing the figure.
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