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March 01, 2000

Teen Alternative to Cigarettes Has Higher Concentrations of Nicotine

Although hand-rolled cigarettes from India, called bidis (pronounced "beedees"), are an increasingly popular alternative to conventional cigarettes among teens in the United States, they are not a less addictive option, a NIDA study has confirmed. Dr. Wallace B. Pickworth and his colleagues in NIDA's Intramural Research Program in Baltimore and at Murty Pharmaceuticals in Lexington, Kentucky, compared a dozen brands of bidis with a brand of U. S. commercial unfiltered cigarettes and found that 11 of the 12 bidi brands had 28 percent higher nicotine concentrations than the unfiltered cigarettes. In the United States, bidis are sold in tobacco shops and other outlets and come in colorful packages with flavor choices such as cinnamon, orange, and chocolate. In India, where bidis have been smoked for centuries, they are not flavored.

Russian University Honors NIDA Director

Dr. Alan I. Leshner with Dr. Edwin ZvartauNIDA Director Dr. Alan I. Leshner with Dr. Edwin Zvartau, research director at the Pavlov Medical University in St. Petersburg, Russia. Dr. Leshner received an honorary degree from the university for his contributions to drug abuse research and efforts to promote cooperation between NIDA and the Russian university. Dr. Leshner received the degree during a symposium at which he spoke on emerging opportunities for understanding drug abuse and addiction.

 

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