The present study was conducted to determine whether smoking bidis, an additive-free cigarette, and conventional cigarettes caused similar biochemical, physiological and subjective effects. This was an open-label, within-subject design. In each session, subjects (n = 10) smoked a single cigarette: an unfiltered Natural American Spirit, an unfiltered Irie bidi, an unfiltered Sher bidi, or one of the participant's own brand. The presentation of the cigarettes was randomized. Before and up to 1 h after smoking, biochemical markers [plasma nicotine levels and exhaled carbon monoxide (CO)] and physiological effects of nicotine (heart rate and blood pressure) were measured. After smoking, subjects completed two standardized tests of cigarette liking and cigarette sensations. American Spirit (32.1 ng/ml) and Irie bidi (26.0 ng/ml) cigarettes increased plasma nicotine more than the participant's own brand (18.5 ng/ml). Subjects smoked longer and took more puffs to consume the American Spirit (452.8 s, 14 puffs) and Sher bidi (354.4 s, 14 puffs) than the participant's own brand (297.4 s, 10 puffs). In spite of differences in nicotine delivery, participants rated all cigarettes as similar in nicotine content. Overall, the results indicate that bidis and the additive-free cigarette delivered nicotine, CO and (presumably) other toxic components of tobacco smoke in equal or greater amounts than conventional cigarettes. These results do not support an emerging belief that bidi cigarettes are safer than conventional brands.