this thread seems to have gone on for a long time without reaching any conclusive answer, so allow me to provide one. beedies are quite lovely rolled leaves -- i believe of the actual beedie or bidi tree -- and people who've been to india have told me that they're sometimes even being made right there by the side of the road. now i used to smoke beedies for years -- until i found them too too difficult to come by in vienna, austria. then after i'd given them up -- cold turkey -- fasting, drinking hot water etc -- i gave up smoking, full stop -- i stopped by in singapore one time and there you could get all these wonderful fresh ganesh beedies and different brands. and i cursed the fuckers, cos i wasn't going to start up smoking again, not in that scorching hot place, either. so if there's any tobacco in them, it hardly figures. i was sent a packet from the US recently with a sticker that said, for sale in the US, so I doubt if they're banned. if a billion indians are smoking them, they can only be as bad as the stuff that 400 million north americans are smoking, and they go out, which means they haven't got those chemicals in them that make paper cigarettes smoulder on all by themselves. but of course smoking isn't good for you and didn't bukowski die of lung cancer? so there. but they taste nice and smell nice -- people always say -- what's that burning? they get all worried, because they smell dry leaves burning and they wonder what might be going on. i've been stopped by rookie cops too, "excuse me sir, what's that you're smoking?" well, ha ha. not marihuana, not a DRUG, as such, either. it's easy to go through a couple of packs of beedies in a day, and you can always tell a beedie smoker -- because of the burn holes in his t-shirt or jacket ir whatever. women rarely smoke them, because they like something elegant in their hands, and because they mistake beedies for cigars or little cigarillos, which they barely qualify as. it's a very pleasurable smoke, even so, but like egyptian cigarettes, they're something the big tobacco people don't like to see around. even in india they are considered a proletarian pleasure, and the classy people prefer american cigs. in pakistan they make a larger and pretty disgusting beedie -- awful taste. so stick with the ganeshi you can see in the picture somewhere around here.