National Advice Service Enquiries - Bidis - Indian cigarettes
Bidis are manufactured in India and consist of thin strands of tobacco wrapped up in the leaf of the Tendu plant. They often have a “home-made” look, are sometimes tied up in bundles and can be mistaken for small, thin, herbal cigarettes. They have been known to contain flavourings such as mint. They are very cheap to produce and large numbers can be carried in suitcase-size containers. There are no known current, legitimate, commercial importers.
Bidis were classified by the Customs Co-operation Council (decision of the Harmonised Systems Committee 1989) as cigarettes proper to commodity code 2402. 20.
For the purpose of calculating the ad valorem element of the excise TPD the recommended RSP is taken to be that of twenty small plain cigarettes. This or subsequent notional RSP will remain the case until and unless a commercial importer of Bidis becomes established.
Bidis are subject to the restrictions on maximum tar yields and the health label requirements applicable to other imported cigarettes.
In case of doubt or difficulty please contact the Tobacco Team.