owns exclusively

Rolling paper

Rolling papers are small sheets, rolls, or leaves of paper which are sold for rolling one's own cigarettes either by hand or with a rolling machine. When rolling a cigarette, one fills the rolling paper with tobacco, shag, marijuana or other herbs. They are most commonly made with wood pulp, hemp, flax, or rice as a base material. Some companies may use esparto, which might lead to a slightly higher carcinogen level when burned. The basic design of a single paper is a long rectangle with a narrow strip of glue or gum all along one of the long edges. Longer, rice-based rolling papers are also often used to make spliffs or used by connoisseurs for cigarettes of the highest quality. Rolling papers are also called skins or rollies, but the term skinning up usually only refers to the act of rolling a spliff. Newer rolling papers are available in various flavors. This is said to enhance the smoking experience. The latest rolling papers are unbleached with a translucent brown color.


Rolling papers have experienced a resurgence of popularity because it has become increasingly less expensive to roll cigarettes than to purchase a machine-made one in many countries including the USA . Tax policy is the key reason for the cost differential. In addition, people who roll their own cigarettes can customize the cigarette to any shape, size, and form they choose. Rolling papers are sold in lengths of 70mm - 110mm and a range of widths.

Most manufacturers who sell in the USA use the designations 1 (Single wide), 1¼ (1.25) size, 1½ (1.5) size and “Doublewide” (2 or 2.0) in connection with cigarette rolling papers. However, within the industry, these designations have slightly different meanings, much like the term Corona does not mean a definitive size but moreover a general size.; and, across the various brands of cigarette papers, the actual widths of the papers using these designations vary greatly. For example, the 1¼ designation is used with papers having widths ranging from about 1.7 inches to 2 inches, and the 1½ designation is used with papers having widths ranging from around 2.4 to 3 inches. However the length of these papers is always 78mm (+/1 1mm). 1 1/4 is also known as "Spanish Size" in parts of the world.

While a 1 1/4 sized paper is not exactly 25% larger than a 1 (single wide) paper, there is meaning to these size names. A better way to describe these accurately is that a 1 1/4 is designed to roll a cigarette that contains about 25% more tobacco then a single wide paper. Similarly a 1 1/2 size paper is designed to roll a cigarette that contains about 50% more than a single wide paper. A 1 1/4 size paper is larger than a 1 (single wide) paper and naturally a 1 1/2 size paper is larger than a 1 1/4 size paper, and a double wide is larger than a 1 1/2 size paper.

In the United States, Tobacconist Magazine has called roll-your-own (RYO) the tobacco industry's fastest growing segment. It estimates that 2-4% of US cigarette smokers, or approximately 1.5 million people, make their own cigarettes. Many of these smokers have switched in response to increasingly high taxes on manufactured cigarettes.

In 2000, a Canadian government survey estimated that 9% of Canada's 6 million cigarette smokers smoked hand-rolled cigarettes "sometimes or most of the time" - 7% smoked roll-your-owns "exclusively", and over 90% of rolling papers sold in Canada were for tobacco consumption.

According to The Publican, "Low price RYO has seen an astonishing rise of 175 per cent in [2007] as cigarette smokers look for cheaper alternatives and to control the size of their smoke" .Britain's National Health Service has reported that roll-your-own use has more than doubled since 1990, from 11% to 24%. Many of these smokers apparently believe that hand rolled cigarettes are healthier than manufactured products.

In Thailand, roll-your-own smokers have long exceeded those for manufactured brands. New Zealand reported in 2005 that: The ratio of roll-your-own to manufactured or tailor-made cigarettes consumed by New Zealanders has risen over (at least) the past decade, perhaps reflecting price differences between these products, and currently approaching 50 percent overall.

Consumers switching to roll-your-own has led to a response among certain tax authorities. In the United States, Indiana and Kentucky tax rolling papers. Kentucky set its tax at $0.25 per pack (for up to 32 leaves, larger packs are taxed at $0.0078 per leaf) in 2006 despite complaints from manufacturers.


The Spanish manufacturer of Bambu and Smoking was recently convicted in Spain of using illegal carcinogenic materials, namely esparto, in their cigarette papers to cut costs..

Other uses

Rolling paper can be used for more than just rolling cigarettes:

  • After soaking in potassium nitrate, rolling paper can be fitted to a base bullet to make a combustible paper cartridge.
  • Has been used as an inexpensive bandage to stop bleeding
  • Players of wind instruments, particularly flutes, use rolling paper as a blotter to remove moisture that accumulates in keypads or joints. Some clarinet players use a folded piece of rolling paper over their two front bottom teeth to protect the bottom lip from being cut, due to the pressure from the weight of the clarinet on the lip.
  • Used in CAM (computer aided manufacture) for setting the right level for drills. The paper is placed on the object to be cut, drilled, or similar, and the drill is lowered until it catches the paper. Because the paper is so thin, this is the easiest way to get an exact start point for the drill.

Noted Brands

  • Abadie - Well-known French brand in a pink pack (France 1840)
  • Bambu rolling papers - Brand of rolling papers made in Argentina & Spain. (Spain 1922, moved to Argentina 1990, see above news).
  • Bugler - Top-selling low-end brand. Popular in US prison system and among low end rollers.
  • JOB (France) - Founded in 1834. First rolling paper in booklet form. Famous for iconic art nouveau advertising posters
  • Juicy Jay's - Top selling flavored paper brand, notably featured as part of the plot line in Grandma's Boy movie
  • OCB - Well-known French brand in a white pack (France 1918)
  • RAW - Unbleached vegan rolling papers, notable for their brown see-through properties (Spain 2005)
  • Rizla - (France): 18th century origins. Now 75% of the UK rolling paper market.
  • Pay-Pay - Oldest brand of rolling papers in the world (From 1703 Spain)
  • Smoking - (Spain) - popular in parts of Europe and the Middle East, see above news.
  • Zig-Zag - (France) First interleaved brand (hence the name). Gold medal at 1900 Universal Exposition in Paris.
  • Tally-Ho - (Australia): Popular for its patriotism. Ironically, made in Belgium

See Also: Clear rolling papers for brands of cellulose rolling papers and Blunt (cigar) for brands of blunt papers


See also

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