Concentrations of nine alkenylbenzenes, coumarin, piperonal and pulegone in Indian bidi cigarette tobacco

Food Chem Toxicol. 2003 Feb;41(2):303-17. doi: 10.1016/s0278-6915(02)00230-2.


Indian-made bidi cigarettes sold in the United States are available in a variety of exotic (e.g. clove, mango) and candy-like (e.g. chocolate, raspberry) flavors. Because certain tobacco flavorings contain alkenylbenzenes and other toxic or carcinogenic chemicals, we measured the concentration of flavor-related compounds in bidi tobacco using a previously developed method. Twenty-three brands of bidis were sampled using automated headspace solid-phase microextraction and subsequently analyzed for 12 compounds by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. Two alkenylbenzene compounds, trans-anethole and eugenol, were found in greater than 90% of the brands analyzed. Methyleugenol, pulegone and estragole were each detected in 30% or more of the brands, whereas safrole and elemicin were not detected in any of the brands. The flavor-related compounds with the highest tobacco concentrations were eugenol (12,000 microg/g tobacco) and trans-anethole (2200 microg/g tobacco). The highest eugenol and trans-anethole concentrations found in bidi tobacco were about 70,000 and 7500 times greater, respectively, than the highest levels previously found in US cigarette brands. Measurement of these compounds is crucial to evaluation of potential risks associated with inhaling highly concentrated flavor-related compounds from bidis or other tobacco products.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Allylbenzene Derivatives
  • Anisoles / analysis*
  • Benzaldehydes / analysis*
  • Benzodioxoles
  • Coumarins / analysis*
  • Cyclohexane Monoterpenes
  • Eugenol / analysis*
  • Flavoring Agents / analysis
  • Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry
  • India
  • Monoterpenes / analysis*
  • Tobacco / chemistry*


  • Allylbenzene Derivatives
  • Anisoles
  • Benzaldehydes
  • Benzodioxoles
  • Coumarins
  • Cyclohexane Monoterpenes
  • Flavoring Agents
  • Monoterpenes
  • Eugenol
  • pulegone
  • coumarin
  • piperonal
  • anethole