Roll Your Own Tobacco

Roll-your-own (RYO) tobacco is considered to be “the fastest growing segment in the cigarette outlet business”.  Commercial RYO machines located in retail stores enable RYO retailers to sell cigarette packs and cartons without paying the federal and state excise taxes that are imposed on conventionally manufactured cigarette packs or cartons. Because of this, consumers can purchase cigarette packs and cartons at a fraction of the cost of conventionally manufactured cigarette packs and cartons. Additionally, RYO retailers do not have to comply with licensing rules mandated for conventional cigarette manufacturers, including paying into a required escrow fund pursuant to the Master Settlement Agreement (MSA).

Cheap cigarettes, sometimes less than half the price of premium brand cigarettes, undercut the evidence-based public health benefit of keeping cigarette prices high in order to deter youth from smoking, reduce the number of cigarettes consumed by a smoker, and prompt smokers to quit where the cost of smoking is calculated into their decision to quit.

At this time there is no evidence to suggest that these machine-produced RYO cigarettes attract underage smokers. Youth are notoriously brand conscious, and the discounted price of these products may not be tempting enough for youth to use these generic cigarettes. It may be helpful for jurisdictions to ask about RYO cigarettes, manufactured in a retail store, as part of their youth tobacco use surveys and to conduct compliance checks specifically with underage youth aiming to use these machines to gain a better sense of the affect of these products on youth use.

This section contains background information and resources on Roll-your-own tobacco.

Check out our Roll-your-own Tobacco resources.