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The truth about rollies? Warning: it ain’t pretty

If you thought smoking rollies or pouch tobacco was better for you than traditional cigarettes, you’re not alone. Half of young people in Victoria who smoke believe that roll-your-own cigarettes are less dangerous for them, and they are very wrong.

Roll-your-own tobacco is just as bad as factory-made cigarettes. We’re here to bust the five most common myths about roll-your-own tobacco.

Myth 1: Roll-your-own tobacco doesn’t have as many nasties, which makes it better for you

Wrong. The damage from smoking is caused by inhaling smoke from burning tobacco leaves. The smoke contains tiny particles and hundreds of chemicals that are created when the leaves burn. Whether those leaves come from factory-made cigarettes or loose-leaf tobacco, doesn't matter. If you thought smoking rollies was healthier for you because they haven't been "processed", consider that myth busted.

Myth 2: You’re smoking less than if you buy manufactured cigarettes

Some people think that 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.

Myth 3: You’re saving more money by buying loose tobacco

Maybe once upon a time... Up until September 2016, loose tobacco was taxed less.  But now, the price of loose tobacco is the same as manufactured cigarettes. Tobacco companies are trying to fool customers by 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. 

Myth 4: They’re natural unlike pre-made cigarettes

Tobacco leaves might be 'natural', but what isn't natural is inhaling smoke from burning tobacco leaves day after day. Burning tobacco leaves - whether they are in manufactured cigarettes or loose from a pouch - creates dangerous toxins such as carbon monoxide and tar. At the end of the day, roll-your-own tobacco still leads to many life-threatening health problems, including 16 types of cancer. 

Myth 5: I roll mine skinny, which makes them better for me.

There’s a misconception that rolling skinnier cigarettes means you’re smoking less tobacco overall. 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.

The final word

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. 

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 symptoms of nicotine withdrawal. 

Build your own quit plan or read up on how other people have quit for good.

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