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This article focuses on smokers, since they mostly make up our readership. It is hard to find anyone, who would argue that hand-rolled cigarettes have their own specific advantages. First, you can mix and match different flavours of tobacco to fit your mood, preferences, desires. Secondly, rolled cigarettes are stronger, so you don't need to smoke as often. Besides, hand-rolled cigarettes usually are cheaper than commercially available brands and you can decide the size of your cigarette each time. This is especially helpful when you're just going to have a quick smoke.

Another good reason for hand-rolling cigarettes is that you generally know what goes into them. Commonly, cigarette manufacturers have a wide variety of ingredients, either to produce a different taste, or to make the cigarette burn better. Generally speaking, hand-rolling tobaccos do not have as many of these additional ingredients, and contain more by way of tobacco.

Smoking hand-rolls offers another advantage, in addition to its cost effectiveness and a few of the others cited above. When you roll a cigarette, it is inherently more enjoyable because of your intimate connection with the production of a material good. The more a person is involved at any and every level of this production, the greater the satisfaction derived from the end product.

Thus, this article will tell you how to roll a cigarette, involving you in this process step by step.


1. Spread the tobacco out evenly on the rolling surface into a rough shape of the finished product.

Step 1 - spread.jpg

2. Take your rolling paper and rest it with the crease between your thumb and middle finger then rest your index finger in the crease to hold the paper down on whichever hand you feel most comfortable. Use the other hand to make any adjustments needed in order to make the paper look like a half pipe.

3. Then using the free hand begin at one end of the pile and delicately place the tobacco on the paper starting with the end you are holding it with. Progressively transfer the rest of the pile from the rolling surface to the paper. If needed, even out the tobacco along the paper to make it consistent. Getting it as level as possible helps the cigarette burn more smoothly. If it is damp or clumped, gently pick apart any lumps with your fingers. You may wish to leave some hanging over the ends: you can pinch it off later, and it will keep the ends from being too narrow.

4. If you plan to use a filter, you can either insert it at one end now, or leave space at one end and insert it later.

5. Then take a hold of the paper with the other hand again resting it between your middle and thumb. Remove the index finger that was on your primary holding hand. The paper is now resting between the index and thumb of both hands with the tobacco evenly spread, except for where your index finger was.

6. Position the middle fingers so they roughly form a straight line from one end to the other. The thumbs should be holding the unrolled cigarette so it is positioned a little bit to the underside of the middle fingers. The contour of the fingers should initiate the shape of the cigarette.

7. Now using the thumbs, begin rolling the cigarette between your thumb and middle fingers. While doing this, gradually apply pressure towards the ends of the cigarette by trying to make your thumbs and middle fingers parallel.

8. After the tobacco has been essentially moulded into its proper shape, pull your thumbs downward to have the edge of the paper align with the top of the tobacco.

Step 8.jpg

9. Increase the pressure applied by the thumbs while moving the middle fingers upward and complete the preliminary rotation without creasing the bottom of the paper. The front edge of the paper should tuck snugly behind the tobacco as you begin to roll. This may take a few tries: just keep moving the front of the paper up and down and gently push in with the thumbs until it catches.

Step 9.jpg

10. Complete the roll until the edge with glue remains. Apply a streak of saliva using the tongue. Seal the cigarette by applying even pressure without making any bends in the paper.

Step 10.jpg

11. Pinch off any tobacco sticking out of the ends.

12. Optionally, push or fold the paper in a little to narrow the hole at the end you intend to smoke. Some smokers prefer to lightly twist one or both ends of the cigarette. This will prevent the tobacco from falling out of a poorly packed cigarette, or sticking to your lips when you smoke.

13. If you left space for a filter, insert it into the end and tuck the paper around it slightly.

14. For a makeshift filter, cut a rectangle out of soft cardboard or stiff paper. Make two creases in opposite directions at the end of one side of the cardboard to make it like an N. This will create something to roll around in addition to trapping any tobacco that may come loose. The filter should be rolled a little smaller than the end of the cigarette so it is easily inserted. Once the cigarette is lit the heat from the smoke will expand the filter to a snug fit.

15. Apply any packing to the cigarette if it is needed.


  • Filter tips (the type in a standard cigarette) can be bought from most stores which can then be added to your own hand rolled cigarette.
  • Some people prefer to roll a cigarette in a cone shaped form. This will reduce the amount of tobacco that you waste, since you can't smoke it all due to the heat when the cigarette is almost finished.
  • There is a difference between brands rolling papers, they are available very cheaply so you can buy many and find the type/brand you like. In general, "shag"--tobacco cut into long fine ribbons--is easier to roll by hand, as it will hold its shape better. Tobacco cut into small chunks is usually better for rolling in a machine.
  • Make sure your tobacco is bought from a store that sells rolling tobacco regularly, as it can often be stale from lying in the store for a long time. This also depends on the popularity of the brand.
  • If you happen to have stale/dry tobacco place a moist sponge in the tobacco packet as this re-moistens the tobacco somewhat to its original state. An orange- or potato peel can also serve this purpose. Adding a small amount of water will also work, but it will take a while to absorb and your tobacco will be too wet or dry in the meantime.
  • To moisten too-dry tobacco immediately, dip your fingertips in water and gently knead as much tobacco as you plan to use until it has softened and your fingertips are largely dry. If it still seems dry, add more water; if it gets too wet, add more dry tobacco until the water is absorbed.

To smoke or not to smoke? This question can be referred to the famous "To be or not to be" by W. Shakespeare. Of course, it is better to avoid smoking, especially if you are not addicted and can easily cope without cigarettes. We do not deny the fact that smoking can be harmful and increase the likelihood of such diseases as cancer, emphysema, premature ageing of skin, heart diseases. And, of course, as an adult you have the ability and right to make a conscious decision about whether or not you wish to risk this.