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Tobacco Prevention Coalition
Health Department

Loose Tobacco - Roll Your Own


Roll your own (RYO) refers to a cigarette made from loose tobacco and rolling papers. Roll-your-own products are sold as a pouch of tobacco for rolling hand-rolled cigarettes, sometimes with the rolling papers provided in the pouch. Loose filters can also be bought and added to the rolled cigarettes.

A common myth surrounding roll-your-own tobacco is that it is a "cleaner" tobacco, containing no additives. Rolling tobacco is generally not additive free; in particular the wet nature of the product necessitates the use of chemical preservatives, as well as other chemicals used for flavoring. Like all tobacco products, all rolling tobacco can cause various diseases.



Health effects

The two most common effects associated with pipe smoking are stained teeth and gum disease. An effect called hairy tongue can develop. "Hairy tongue" is caused by the top layers of the tongue's skin not falling off like they should and appears as hair-like scabs.

Oral cancer is very high in pipe smokers. Because the smoke enters into the mouth, the cancer-causing agents in smoke heavily impact the area. According to the American Cancer Society, nearly 8,000 people die of oral cancer in the United States each year, making it the eighth deadliest cancer in the country. 


According to the American Cancer Society, pipe smoking is just as dangerous as any other form of smoking for non-smokers. Each year nearly seven percent of lung cancer deaths occur in non-smokers.