A growing market
Fine Cut tobacco, sometimes referred to as roll-your-own or make-your-own tobacco, is almost certainly the oldest form of smoking, pre-dating the use of the earliest pipes.
We know that people in North America were rolling their own tobacco in corn or palm leaves thousands of years ago.
Even after the voyage of Columbus to the West Indies and the Americas in 1492, it was more than 350 years before the first factory-manufactured cigarettes were produced.
Many tobacco manufacturers shifted towards the production of cigarettes as they grew in popularity, and roll-your-own tobacco became the choice of only the most cost-conscious smokers or people who actually enjoyed the ritual of making their own cigarettes.
In some countries manufactured cigarettes took over the market completely, but to this day in the Netherlands and Norway many smokers continue to favour Fine Cut cigarettes. It commands a significant market in other countries too, such as Belgium, Germany, France, New Zealand and the UK.
Many varieties of tobacco, including Burley, Virginia, sun-cured and fire-cured, are used to produce the blends in British American Tobacco’s Fine Cut tobaccos.
Rolling your own by hand requires only cigarette papers, tobacco and a little skill. Most cigarette papers are made with folds, providing somewhere to place the tobacco, while the amount used is up to the individual.
Once the tobacco is evenly-distributed along the length of the paper, the cigarette is ready to be carefully rolled and sealed.
There are various machines available that allow people to make their own cigarettes with ordinary tobacco and regular cigarette paper, or even with cigarette tubes, which include filters, just like factory made cigarettes.
The most basic form of machine is a simple roller device. The process of making a cigarette is very similar to rolling one by hand, but the machine helps to give a more even finish, with much less effort.
Tubing or injector cigarette machines vary enormously in size and shape, but generally provide a small, tube-shaped chamber inside which tobacco is packed and then sealed. The tobacco is pushed into the cigarette tube manually using a simple plunger, or sometimes mechanically with the use of a turning handle.