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The truth about rollies

Rollie (roll-your-own) tobacco may seem more natural and fresh, but over 10% of a rollie pouch is chemical additives. In fact, rollie tobacco contains at least as many additives by weight as the tobacco in tailor-made cigarettes. Some of these additives make the toxic smoke feel less harmful than it really is and can cause further damage to your body.

Additives in tobacco products make the toxic smoke feel less harmful than it really is. If the tobacco didn’t have additives in it, the toxic smoke would be so strong and harsh on the throat, few people could inhale it. Without the feeling of harshness, you get fewer immediate cues that the smoke is damaging your airways. It allows you to keep taking in lungfuls of cancer-causing chemicals.

You’re inhaling the same toxic poisons

Even though roll-your-own tobacco might look and taste different from tailor-made cigarettes, you’re inhaling the same toxic poisons. This is because some of the toxic poisons in cigarette smoke are created when the additives are burned, and many of the harmful chemicals in tobacco smoke are created when the tobacco is burned. So, it doesn’t matter what it tastes like or how it feels, all tobacco smoke contains over 200 toxic poisons.

Find out more about rollies and how they are manipulated at

Other facts about rollies:

People who smoke rollies tend to take longer puffs and inhale more smoke per cigarette

Some people think because they’re using rollies, they’re smoking less. But often people who use roll-your-own cigarettes tend to take longer puffs and inhale more smoke per cigarette. So, using roll-your-own tobacco might not mean you are smoking less.

Rollie tobacco is just as costly

Tobacco companies are producing smaller and smaller pouches so it doesn't seem like you are paying as much. Turns out, you end up paying less per pouch but having to buy pouches more often. The bottom line? Rollies are not just costly for your health, they're costly for your wallet, too. 

The size of the cigarette doesn't matter - there's no safe level of smoking

Some people believe that because they roll skinner cigarettes, it means they are exposed to less harm. There is no safe level of smoking. The size of the cigarette doesn’t actually make a difference; you’re still inhaling nicotine, tar and carbon monoxide. Just because you rolled a skinnier cigarette, doesn’t mean it’s any better for you.

Any kind of smoking is doing your body damage. Whether it’s rollies, cigarettes or shisha, it’s the tobacco smoke you inhale that's doing you damage. But the good part? Your body begins to repair itself the minute you quit smoking. 

Quitline is here to help

Research shows you are more likely to quit and stay quit when you:

  1. speak with a GP. A GP can discuss options and provide a script for subsidised stop smoking medication. See  What to ask your GP.  

  2. talk with Quitline (13 7848). Quitline counsellors are qualified in helping people to quit. Quitline counsellors help build and sustain a person’s motivation to quit and help them build a quit plan that suits them. They’ve helped thousands of people quit. Read more about  how Quitline can help. 

  3. use stop smoking medication, like the nicotine patch and gum or prescribed stop smoking tablets, to help manage feelings of nicotine withdrawal. 

There are many ways to get in touch with Quitline. Find out how:

Please note,this information is for general use only.  Please consult your health professional for further advice.  

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Last updated February 2024

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