How the Bidi Tobacco Industry Harms Child-workers: Results From a Walk-through and Quantitative Survey

Jihyun Kim, Sohel Rana, Wanhyung Lee, Syed Emdad Haque, Jin Ha Yoon

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1 Citation (Scopus)


Objective: Bidi is an inexpensive, low-processed, hand-rolled tobacco product. In Bangladesh, especially in Rangpur, tobacco farming and bidi processing are common. In this study, we aimed to evaluate the impact of bidi making on children working in bidi factories. Methods: This qualitative(walk-through survey) and quantitative(questionnaire-based survey and a urine cotinine level quantitation) study was conducted in Rangpur, Bangladesh in 2017. Study population included child-workers aged ≤14 years who were regularly employed as bidi makers. Findings: The results of the walk-through survey revealed hazardous working environments at bidi factories. For the quantitative survey, 171 child-workers were categorized into “less-working”(<5 hours/day) and “more-working”(≥5 hours/day) groups; additionally, “forced-working”(forced into work by parents) and “voluntary-working”(working voluntarily) groups were delineated within the same population. In the logistic regression analysis, odds ratios(ORs) of respiratory symptoms and unusual absence(absent ≥5 days/month) were higher in the “more-working” group than in the “less-working” group(unusual absence: OR, 2.91; 95% confidence interval[CI], 1.43-5.94), and this association became higher in the “forced-working” group with longer working hours(OR, 5.68, 95%CI 2.30-14.00). Conclusions: Cheap, hand-rolled tobacco(bidi) is harmful to the health of bidi-making child-workers. Children in poverty bow to the demands of cheap labor and poverty and jeopardize their health and future prospects by working in bidi factories. Tobacco control policies should consider the social effects of tobacco beyond its biological effects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)143-151
Number of pages9
JournalSafety and Health at Work
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Jun

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Safety Research
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Chemical Health and Safety


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