The trend today of rolling your own cigarettes is catching on and spreading across the country more so today than we have ever seen in the past. In today’s world, for many the trend is a matter of simple economics. After 1998’s (MSA) Master Settlement Agreement which amounted to $246 million, in addition to dramatically steep increases in price of packaged cigarettes due to ever increasing state taxes upon packaged cigarettes, for many it’s an easy choice. While initially it’s about economic’s, it quickly becomes about quality, as there are many grades, and choices when selecting tobacco’s. For some it is the touch and feel of rolling an individual cigarette, and knowing what goes into that cigarette, as opposed to the chemicals that are found in the packaged variety. In the 90’s there was the cigar boom, that was more a social status thing, where it was thought that smoking unique and exclusive cigars was a sign of success, not to mention the pseudo-sexual undertones in some communities.
The current trend can be broken down into two categories, RYO (roll your own) and MYO (make your own). RYO is essentially buying rolling tobacco and loose rolling papers and rolling your own. MYO is buying pre-made tubes with filters and using a machine to inject the tobacco into the tubes, producing a very packaged cigarette like product.
The MYO product can be done by buying a small machine for personal use that makes the cigarettes individually, or one can at some shops use a larger machine to make 200 cigarettes in a short period of time, and getting a discounted price on the equivalent to a packaged carton of cigarettes. The RYO products can be bought in several ways. Products like Bali Shag, Drum, Bugler, and Top can be bought alongside packaged cigarettes at the normal convenience stores and gas stations, etc.. While better quality tobacco’s can be bought from tobacconist shops where cigars, and pipe tobacco’s are traditionally sold.
The price of RYO can vary, while the products that are sold alongside packaged cigarettes can range from $7 to $11 depending upon the shop one buys them from and generally come with rolling papers, the tobacco from a tobacconist shop can be bought for $4 to $6 an ounce, and the papers to go along with them can range from 60 cents to $3 per package. Most can generally get the equivalent of 2 to 2 1/2 packs of commercial cigarettes from an ounce of tobacco. When compared to over $8 for a commercial pack of cigarettes, it’s easy to see the appeal of RYO.
The ‘sin tax’ on commercial cigarettes can be seen as an additional revenue source for many states, especially when combined with laws that limit or prohibit the sale of RYO or MYO cigarette products. Meanwhile in states where other options to commercial cigarettes are available, one can easily see why many are choosing alternatives