In recent years the consumption of rolling tobacco has increased enormously . It has become a popular way of using tobacco, especially among young people, who after the crisis have thought it was a cheaper option to smoke.

Rolling your own tobacco to smoke it has become a more considered option in certain social circles, and the idea has spread that it is less harmful than consuming a conventional cigarette.

Is it true that smoking roll-your-own tobacco is better for your health than smoking packet tobacco? In this article we will see what is true about this question, for it is something that many people are convinced of.

What is rolling tobacco?

First of all, it should be made clear that rolling tobacco is tobacco that is loose and not in the form of a ready-made cigarette.

While this type of tobacco can be used for other modes of consumption such as pipes, it is currently much better known for making cigarettes. To be able to do so you have to buy this tobacco loose, as well as paper and mouthpieces . Everything is sold separately, usually in plastic packages of different brands.

While the most common is that the cigarettes are prepared by hand, these cigarettes can also be prepared using machines. These allow for good uniformity in rolling the cigarette. On the other hand, there are also cigarette preparations in which only the rolling tobacco needs to be added inside.

5 major myths about the use of this substance

There have been many people who have switched to rolling tobacco thinking it is better than conventional tobacco, but the reasons are generally not as true as one might think .

Below we will demystify the key points that lead many smokers to think that rolling tobacco is a better option for them. We will see why in most cases worrying about smoking roll-your-own tobacco or pack tobacco makes little sense.

1. Tobacco is more natural

Some smokers believe that rolling tobacco is more natural and contains fewer additives than cigarettes already made in a factory. By not going to the last possible step in the manufacturing process, it is assumed that what is in the pack is more natural or organic, and therefore healthier.

But the truth is that, beyond nicotine, loose tobacco is also treated and harmful additives are added. For example, there are substances that help retain moisture or reduce the smell of tobacco smoke.

2. Paper is healthier

“If not for the tobacco, then for the paper.” That’s what some people think, who believe that while tobacco may not vary much, the role of rolling tobacco is in all likelihood much better.

The cigarettes in the packet are presented with a white paper to which additives are added so that it does not go out while we do not take a puff. On the other hand, the paper of the rolling tobacco goes out shortly after not smoking .

From this, many people think that the role of rolling tobacco is better because it burns more slowly. In addition, it is thinner, so there is less substance to inhale other than tobacco. But it is important not to be fooled. This paper still carries substances that are toxic to our bodies.

3. Less cigarettes are smoked

Some people believe that if they buy roll-your-own tobacco they will end up smoking less. If you talk to them, they will give you different reasons, such as that the paper goes out more, that they are lazy to prepare the cigarettes or simply that they don’t like it as much and this makes them feel less like smoking .

These are strategies that can make one smoke less, along with other associated factors that we will see. The truth is that it has been shown that smokers who use rolling tobacco generally smoke less than those who smoke classic manufactured tobacco cigarettes. But as we will see later, it should also be noted that rolling tobacco puts other problems on the table .

4. Less tobacco is better

While you can charge more for cigarettes, generally being able to choose how much tobacco is in a cigarette is applied to want to smoke less.

Some people prepare thinner cigarettes, i.e. with less tobacco, believing that this is a good solution to smoking less. But as we have seen in the previous point, trying to find solutions for smoking less is not always a good idea.

Smoking thinner cigarettes can even make us smoke more, because you are consuming less nicotine than you are used to . Moreover, if this is the case, we end up consuming more paper, and therefore more toxic substances that are not even tobacco.

Smoking thinner cigarettes can even cause you to have to inhale harder, making a respiratory effort to get tar and other harmful substances into your lungs as well.

5. Is healthier

This idea is the conclusion reached after believing some of the above points. We have left this point for the end to examine different factors that allow us to definitively deny that rolling tobacco is a healthier option for your body.

Below we review some of the most relevant aspects to be taken into account for our health. Smoking rolling tobacco and conventional tobacco is bad, it is evident, but there are some differences that research on this topic has revealed .

5.1. Cancer

Rolling tobacco may be perceived as a less harmful option to smoke, but the results do not say the same. Compared to classic tobacco smokers, smokers of rolling tobacco have a higher incidence of certain cancers such as lung, mouth, pharynx and larynx.

In addition, a much higher concentration of tar, carbon monoxide and nicotine has been found in rolling tobacco compared to conventional tobacco. A greater oxidative effect on body cells has also been found in experiments that have studied both types of tobacco.

5.2. Carbon monoxide

People who smoke rolling tobacco have more carbon monoxide in their blood. The most important aspects are that this damages the arteries and causes less respiratory capacity and efficiency in the transport of nutrients in the blood.

Studies have shown that more paper is burned and more carbon monoxide is produced in rolling tobacco. This is precisely why may worsen the vascular pathology , which is very common among smokers.

5.3. Nicotine dependence and its presence in blood

Once we stop finding nicotine in our bodies after an hour or two of smoking, other harmful molecules such as cotinine remain. Cotinine is a substance produced in the metabolism of nicotine.

Traces of this substance have been found longer in the blood of people who smoke roll-your-own tobacco than in people who smoke conventional tobacco. But in any case, no difference has been found between the dependence of some and other smokers towards nicotine consumption in general.

5.4. Decreased attempts to quit

A significant proportion of smokers have switched to roll-your-own tobacco because they believe it is better for them. Perhaps this is why research shows less success in quitting. Rolling tobacco users are less likely to stop smoking .

The smoker’s ability to kick the habit, a concept called self-efficacy, is lower for roll-your-own smokers. This perception makes the motivation to quit the bad habit less and therefore more difficult to get away from this drug.

5.5. Stress and Addiction

If you want to avoid smoking the best thing is obviously to stop smoking. Smoking roll-your-own tobacco can make you smoke a little less, but as we are seeing, it does not all come down to the number of cigarettes. And although sometimes one can fool oneself and deprive oneself of certain cigarettes, the anxiety that can be generated by not having the substance can increase anxiety .

This is not a good solution for our body; suffering from stress is also harmful to our health.

In any case, we can say that the anxiety caused by restricting a substance to which we are hooked is an unmistakable sign of addiction. And as far as results regarding the level of nicotine dependence are concerned, smoking roll-your-own tobacco is just as addictive as conventional tobacco.

Bibliographic references:

  • Losardo, R. J. (2016). “Smoking: addiction and disease. A global and national challenge.” Journal of the Argentine Medical Association, 129 (4), pp. 36 – 38.
  • Rodríguez Araujo, O. (2010). Tobacco: lies and exaggerations. Mexico City: Orfila.