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HMRC internal manual

Tobacco Products Duty

National Advice Service Enquiries - Bidis - Indian cigarettes

Bidis are manufactured in India and consist of thin strands of tobacco wrapped up in theleaf of the Tendu plant. They often have a “home-made” look, are sometimes tiedup in bundles and can be mistaken for small, thin, herbal cigarettes. They have been knownto contain flavourings such as mint. They are very cheap to produce and large numbers canbe carried in suitcase-size containers. There are no known current, legitimate, commercialimporters.

Bidis were classified by the Customs Co-operation Council (decision of the HarmonisedSystems Committee 1989) as cigarettes proper to commodity code 2402. 20.

For the purpose of calculating the ad valorem element of the excise TPD the recommendedRSP is taken to be that of twenty small plain cigarettes. This or subsequent notional RSPwill 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 labelrequirements applicable to other imported cigarettes.

In case of doubt or difficulty please contact the Tobacco Team.