Smokers who roll their own less inclined to quit

December 4, 2018, University College London
Dunhill Early Morning Pipe Tobacco, 1990's Murray. Credit: Sjschen/Wikipedia

Smokers who roll their own cigarettes are less likely to try quitting smoking, according to a new study carried out by UCL.

The research, published today in BMJ Open and funded by Cancer Research UK, found that only 15.9% of the who mainly rolled their own cigarettes were highly motivated to quit, compared to 20.3% of those who mainly smoked factory-made cigarettes.

The study found that the major reason for roll-your-own (RYO) smokers' disinclination to quit appeared to be the relatively cheap cost of RYO products compared with factory-made cigarettes. While average daily cigarette consumption by RYO users was broadly comparable to that of factory-made , they only spent around half as much on each week (£14.33 versus £26.79).

"Cost is consistently reported by smokers as one of the primary motives for quitting. With RYO cigarettes offering a lower cost alternative to factory-made cigarettes, RYO users may be more able to afford to continue to smoke and therefore less inclined to try to quit," explained the study's lead author, Dr. Sarah Jackson (UCL Institute of Epidemiology & Health Care).

The research was conducted over a period of nine and a half years, from November 2008 to March 2018, using the Smoking Toolkit Study, an ongoing monthly study about smoking habits in England. Data was provided by over 38,000 English adults who were current smokers or who had quit in the past year.

Over half (56.3%) of the smokers surveyed said they exclusively smoked factory-made cigarettes and over a third (36.6%) said they exclusively smoked RYOs.

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) in 2017, 15.1% of the UK population are smokers—around 7.4m people—but even though the overall smoking prevalence in the UK is declining, use of RYO cigarettes is increasing. Between 1990 and 2017, RYO use in Britain increased from 2% to 28% in female and from 18% to 44% in male smokers.

"This shift from factory-made to RYO smoking was what prompted us to investigate the phenomenon in more detail. With a growing proportion of the smoking population using RYO, it is important to understand the extent to which RYO smoking influences smokers' desires to quit," said Dr. Jackson.

"We found that RYO smokers were less motivated to stop smoking and less likely to make a quit attempt than smokers of factory-made cigarettes."

"This has important implications for , given that a key strategy used by governments worldwide to reduce smoking is to raise taxes on in order to increase the cost of smoking."

Kruti Shrotri, Cancer Research UK's tobacco control expert, added: "RYO cigarettes are much cheaper, so it's not surprising that smokers using these cigarettes are less motivated to quit than those using factory-made ones. But it's important to know that there's no safe way to use tobacco. The Government needs to increase taxes on rolling tobacco to match the prices of factory-made cigarettes to help motivate smokers to quit, whatever type of tobacco they use.

"Smoking is the single biggest cause of cancer, preventable illness and avoidable death. We encourage smokers to talk to their local Stop Smoking Service, GP or pharmacist on how they can get support to quit."

Deborah Arnott, Chief Executive of ASH, said: "The evidence is clear, access to cheaper roll your own tobacco makes it less likely smokers will quit. And a major reason that factory-made cigarettes are more expensive is taxation. Tax is around 30p per cigarette for factory-made compared to less than half that for roll your own cigarettes. Significantly increasing roll your own taxes to remove this differential would be a win-win for the government, by discouraging smoking while at the same time increasing the total tax take."

Explore further: Vapers do not undermine desire to quit smoking

More information: BMJ Open (2018). DOI: 10.1136/bmjopen-2018-025370

Related Stories

Vapers do not undermine desire to quit smoking

November 13, 2018
Smokers who regularly spend time with vapers (people who use e-cigarettes) are more likely to try quitting smoking, according to a new study carried out by UCL.

Number of vapers tops 3 million for first time in Britain

September 17, 2018
More than 3 million people in Great Britain are now vaping, according to new survey data.

Immediately limiting nicotine in all cigarettes could reduce smoking

September 12, 2018
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued an advanced notice of a proposed rule in March that would reduce nicotine in all cigarettes and possibly other burned tobacco products sold in the U.S. to minimally addictive levels. ...

Millions try E-cigarettes, but many stop

May 15, 2018
(HealthDay)—Many folks are trying e-cigarettes, but not everyone is sticking with them, a new survey finds.

E-cigarettes doing more harm than good: study

March 14, 2018
(HealthDay)—Electronic cigarettes do little to help smokers quit, and could actually increase the likelihood that teens and young adults will start smoking, a new study suggests.

Availability of cheap tobacco undermining efforts to cut smoking

July 31, 2017
The effectiveness of price increases as a deterrent to cut smoking is being undermined by the availability of cheap tobacco, including roll-your-own and cartons of factory-made cigarettes, according to new research published ...

Recommended for you

Teens get more sleep with later school start time, researchers find

December 12, 2018
When Seattle Public Schools announced that it would reorganize school start times across the district for the fall of 2016, the massive undertaking took more than a year to deploy. Elementary schools started earlier, while ...

Large restaurant portions a global problem, study finds

December 12, 2018
A new multi-country study finds that large, high-calorie portion sizes in fast food and full service restaurants is not a problem unique to the United States. An international team of researchers found that 94 percent of ...

Receiving genetic information can change risk

December 11, 2018
Millions of people in the United States alone have submitted their DNA for analysis and received information that not only predicts their risk for disease but, it turns out, in some cases might also have influenced that risk, ...

Yes please to yoghurt and cheese: The new improved Mediterranean diet

December 11, 2018
Thousands of Australians can take heart as new research from the University of South Australia shows a dairy-enhanced Mediterranean diet will significantly increase health outcomes for those at risk of cardiovascular disease ...

Effect of oral alfacalcidol on clinical outcomes in patients without secondary hyperparathyroidism

December 11, 2018
Treatment with active vitamin D did not decrease cardiovascular events in kidney patients undergoing hemodialysis, according to a research group in Japan. They have reported their research results in the December 11 issue ...

Licence to Swill: James Bond's drinking over six decades

December 10, 2018
He may be licensed to kill but fictional British secret service agent James Bond has a severe alcohol use disorder, according to an analysis of his drinking behaviour published in the Medical Journal of Australia's Christmas ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.