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The vast majority of smokers use cigarettes. Most are manufactured. Other ways of smoking, including cigars, pipes and waterpipes are less common.
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Half of young smokers in Victoria believe that roll-your-own cigarettes are less dangerous for them, and they are very wrong. Roll-your-own tobacco is just as bad as factory-made cigarettes. The damage from smoking is caused by inhaling smoke from burning tobacco leaves. The smoke contains tiny particles and hundreds of chemicals that are created when the leaves burn. Whether those leaves come from factory-made cigarettes or loose-leaf tobacco, doesn't matter. If you thought smoking rollies was healthier for you because they haven't been "processed", consider that myth busted.
I heard that roll-your-own cigarettes are more natural and safe – is that true?
My last columnreported on the huge growth of Australians using roll-your-own tobacco in the past few years. Because of a tobacco tax anomaly, which will end in September this year, many smokers have migrated to roll-your-own as a less expensive alternative to factory made cigarettes.
The shift to roll-your-own tobacco is certainly one factor that has slowed the decline in smoking in Australia in the past three years. There is unanimous agreement in public health that price and high public acceptance of the harms of smoking are the two single most important factors that reduce tobacco use.
List of additives in cigarettes
This is why all industries, including Big Tobacco, engage in price discounting and lobbying to keep sales taxes low. While the relative cheapness of roll-your-own tobacco is a major explanation of its rising popularity, several other factors are also relevant.
Many people who use it like the ritual of rolling their cigarettes, feeling it is a creative and relaxing ritual. One year-old man, Sam, told an Otago University research group:. Many smokers believe roll-your-own tobacco is somehow less harmful than factory made cigarettes.
Twenty-year-old woman Brenda told the same researchers:. I just imagine that um, tailor made has more chemicals in it.
Tobacco products contain additives to:. This last category of additives, humectants, are particularly important with roll-your-own tobacco.
Inthe New Zealand government became the first to require the tobacco industry submit data on the volume of additives used in tobacco products. Most tobacco products sold in New Zealand at that time were imported from Australia.
The report, obtained under Freedom of Information, shows factory made cigarettes had just 0. So much for the enduring myth that roll-your-own tobacco has less additives than cigarettes.
Nearly a quarter of every lungful of smoke inhaled from a roll-your-own cigarette contains particles and gases from the thermal partial decomposition of chemical additives in the tobacco mix. Unlike every other product food, drinks, medicines intended to be taken into the body, cigarettes are immune from government quality and safety standards. Manufacturers can use any legal, natural or artificial ingredient they wish from a long list of approved additives.
These additives have been approved for use in foodsbut the Australian government has not ed off on their safety when each smoker burns and inhales them many thousands of times a year.
The truth about rollies? warning: it ain’t pretty
Each year the three main tobacco companies operating in Australia voluntarily disclose the additives used in each brand of cigarettes. Instead, the industry reassures us :.
ificantly, manufacturers do not disclose the same information for roll-your-own tobacco. When I questioned in why this monitoring had been stopped, I was advised government policy was that all cigarette smoking was very dangerous, regardless of the levels of additives and pesticide residue they contained.
Our view is that smoking in like being in health hell and the extra impact of additives is like turning the temperature up just another degree. In this paper I published ininternal industry documents made available after litigation in the USA, showed that tobacco used in Australian cigarettes contained alarming levels of pesticide residue, including organochlorines like DDT and dieldrin.
A Philip Morris report noted:. Extremely high pesticide residue levels have been found in all samples submitted by PM-Australia, eg.
These levels are astronomical compared with the 7. We have no more recent public data on pesticide residue in cigarettes sold in Australia. But all cigarette and hand-rolling tobacco sold in Australia is grown overseas, often in less developed nations where agricultural practices can be poorly regulated. It is possible, even likely, pesticide contamination continues today.
Edition: Available editions United Kingdom. Smoke als Plain speaking on public health. Simon ChapmanUniversity of Sydney.