Rolling your own has seen a resurgence in popularity in recent years
Roll-your-own tobacco, sometimes referred to as hand-rolling tobacco or fine cut, is almost certainly the oldest form of smoking, pre-dating the use of the earliest pipes.
We know that people in North America were rolling their own tobacco in corn or palm leaves thousands of years ago.
Even after the voyage of Columbus to the West Indies and the Americas in 1492, it was more than 350 years before the first factory manufactured cigarettes were produced.
Many tobacco manufacturers shifted towards the production of cigarettes as they grew in popularity, and roll your own tobacco became the choice of only the most cost-conscious smokers, or people who actually enjoyed the ritual of making their own cigarettes.
In some countries manufactured cigarettes took over the market completely, but in the Netherlands and Norway almost half of smokers continue to favour hand-rolled cigarettes to this day. Roll your own commands a smaller but significant market in other countries too, such as Belgium, Germany, France, New Zealand and the UK.
In recent years the roll your own market has started to grow again elsewhere. Much of this growth is based on value for money and the fact that the ritual of rolling your own has become simpler with the arrival of easy to use cigarette rolling machines.
Many varieties of tobacco, including Burley, Virginia, sun cured and fire cured, are used to produce the blends in British American Tobacco’s hand-rolling and pipe tobaccos.
Rolling your own
Rolling your own by hand requires only cigarette papers, tobacco and a little skill. Most cigarette papers are made with folds, providing somewhere to place the tobacco, while the amount used is up to the individual.
Once the tobacco is evenly-distributed along the length of the paper, the cigarette is ready to be carefully rolled and sealed. It is then necessary to cut off any loose tobacco at either end with scissors or a knife to complete the cigarette.
Making your own with a cigarette machine
There are various machines available which allow people to make their own cigarettes with ordinary tobacco and regular cigarette paper, or even with cigarette tubes, which include filters, just like factory made cigarettes.
The most basic form of machine is a simple roller device. The process of making a cigarette is very similar to rolling one by hand, but the machine helps to give a more even finish, with much less effort.
Tubing or injector cigarette machines vary enormously in size and shape, but generally provide a small, tube-shaped chamber inside which tobacco is packed and then sealed. The tobacco is pushed into the cigarette tube manually using a simple plunger, or sometimes mechanically with the use of a turning handle.