A recently published study in the BMC Public Health journal (here), finds several reasons why younger smokers in Ireland use roll-your-own tobacco. Based on 62 participants this qualitative Study finds that affordability is one factor amongst several considerations why the young adults interviewed switched from manufactured cigarettes to smoke roll-your-own tobacco.
Based on this observation, the study recommends increasing the cost of loose-leaf tobacco as a measure of public health. This option will be counterproductive as the price differential between fine-cut tobacco and cigarettes plays an essential role in combating tobacco smuggling. It is common knowledge that in absence of a cheaper legal alternative, price-sensitive tobacco consumers will turn to the illegal market which is already significant in Ireland (still at 20% of total cigarette consumption). The study also suggests that sales of roll-your-own tobacco have substantially risen in Ireland. Whilst legal RYO sales have indeed increased last year, roll-your-own tobacco’s share of total tobacco consumption remains stable at around 11%.
ESTA Secretary General Peter van der Mark said: “What this study suggests is that the increase in manufactured cigarettes prices has pushed consumers to turn to cheaper options, such as hand rolled cigarettes. If we follow this logic, then researchers should not recommend increasing the price of roll-your-own tobacco but instead keep it as is avoiding that consumers turn to cheaper illicit products and not contribute to the already significant consequences of smuggling.”