Introduction: Rolling a Cigarette

Here I will be giving instructions on how to roll your own cigarette. However, before I begin, a word of caution: smoking is very, very bad for your health, wallet, and hygiene, and is highly addictive. If you do not already smoke, I strongly recommend that you do not start. Additionally, this guide is only intended for those of legal smoking age. With that being said, if you are already going to smoke regardless, rolling your own cigarettes is an interesting alternative worth looking into. By rolling your own cigarettes instead of buying a standard pack, you gain greater control in the size and flavor of your cigarettes. Additionally, it is significantly less expensive.

Step 1: Gathering Your Materials

The essential materials required for rolling cigarettes are of course rolling papers and tobacco. Additionally, while filters are not technically necessary, I endorse using them because they decrease the health risks of smoking, if only slightly. Finally, one can purchase rolling aids such as a cigarette roller or rolling machine. If you find yourself having trouble rolling by hand alone, a cigarette roller is a cheap way to make the process much easier. A rolling machine similarly makes the process even easier than a hand roller, but is more expensive. If you are a heavy smoker, the time saving aspect of these accessories spread over many cigarettes further makes them worth considering. In this guide, I will only be discussing how to roll cigarettes by hand and with a hand roller.

The size of rolling paper that you use will primarily affect the size of your cigarette- larger papers can obviously hold more tobacco. The filter you use will have a similar effect on the size of the cigarette, as it will be roughly the same size as the filter after rolling, so add this to your considerations as well. However, if you are rolling by hand, size will also affect the ease of rolling. If you are an inexperienced roller, a larger paper is a safer bet to begin with, as they are easier to roll. Regardless, with enough practice, it can become easy to roll with any size paper!

Step 2: Rolling by Hand- Preparing Your Cigarette

You will first want to prepare your cigarette for rolling. Place one rolling paper on a flat surface, with the gummed side (marked by a thin strip of adhesive at the edge of the paper) facing up and far from you. The paper will also form a trough-like shape. Inside the paper, place a filter on one end, and fill the remainder of the paper with tobacco.

A common question for new rollers is, “How much tobacco should be used?” The amount of tobacco you use will of course affect the size of your cigarette, and so it is mostly dependent on the size of your paper and filter, but your personal preference naturally plays a part as well. However, it is important to note that using too much tobacco will make the cigarette almost impossible to roll, while using too little will result in a lose roll or a cigarette that is too small to burn well. The above image shows a 1.25 inch paper with slim filter. This proportion of tobacco and paper is around the same for all sizes, and will produce a cigarette of uniform size.

Step 3: Even Out the Tobacco

Now your cigarette is almost ready to roll, but to make matters a little bit easier we will “even out” the tobacco first. Make sure your tobacco is evenly distributed along the length of the rolling paper so that part of it does not end up less well packed, and push the tobacco down so that it is more densely together. Pick up the cigarette around the filter and allow the paper to take a “U” shape around the filter and tobacco while continuing to push the tobacco down so that it is more cylindrical.

Step 4: Roll the Cigarette

Now you will actually roll the cigarette. You will want to try to tuck the paper closest to you underneath the filter and tobacco, and then continue to roll it up until you are just below the adhesive. It is important to have a fairly tight roll so that the cigarette burns evenly; similarly, the roll should be especially tight around the filter to prevent it from falling out easily. This part can be tricky to get the hang of, but after practicing a few times the process becomes easier.

Step 5: Seal the Cigarette

Now simply apply a small amount of saliva to the adhesive strip at the end and finish rolling up the paper. Lightly apply pressure to the end of the paper and your cigarette will be sealed and ready to smoke! If you find tobacco has fallen out of the end of the cigarette during rolling, you have the option of inserting tobacco into the end and pushing it down with a pencil or something similar. This also allows you to ensure the cigarette is well packed.

Step 6: Rolling With a Hand Roller- Fill the Roller

First, place your filter and desired amount of tobacco into the roller. If you would like, you have the option to use a proportionally larger amount of tobacco here because the hand roller removes the difficulty this is normally associated with. Similarly, using too small an amount will have an even more noticeable effect than before. Though the cigarette will not be lose, using too little tobacco will result in a cigarette that gets much thinner after the filter, which causes insufficient airflow and therefore an uneven burn. Ultimately, this is still up to your preference, though.

Step 7: Packing the Roller

As before, you will want to push the tobacco down so that is in more cylindrical form. This is important because when the roller is closed, difficulty can be caused if pieces of tobacco stick up between the tubes. Then simply close the roller and ensure no loose tobacco sticks up. To ensure the tobacco is as cylindrical as possible, roll the nearest roller down a full rotation.

Step 8: Feed the Paper

Next, insert your paper into the roller. Make sure the side of the paper with adhesive is at the high end of the paper, or you will not be able to seal your cigarette. Additionally, make sure the paper is parallel to the ground, or the cigarette will take a more conical shape rather than a cylindrical one. Roll the roller nearest to you down until the paper is almost entirely into the roller. Then wet the adhesive with the tip of your tongue as before and continue to roll the roller nearest to you down a few times to give the cigarette a good shape. Now just remove the cigarette from the roller and it will be ready to go!