Tobacco Asia

Volume 19, Number 1

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44 tobaccoasia By Thomas Schmid It is said that cigarettes were "invented" by Brit- ish and French soldiers during the Crimean War (1853-1856) when they – lacking proper pipes – started rolling up their tobacco rations in small newspaper scraps. Whether this anecdote holds true or not, one thing is for certain: the practice of roll-your-own (RYO) has endured over the centu- ries. And while it may once have been borne out of sheer desperation, today, it has rather become the expression of a highly individualized lifestyle, where RYO fans consciously forego ready-made smoking products and instead opt to create their own cigarettes whenever they feel like it. For true connoisseurs, it's not so much a mat- ter of rolling a cigarette for a quick puff either, but indeed a veritable – sometimes almost reli- gious – ceremony involving top quality tobacco and purpose-specific rolling paper. A scrap torn from yesterday's tabloid simply won't do. A num- ber of internationally successful companies satisfy the hunger for sophisticated RYO papers and are constantly developing new products or adjust ex- isting ones to stay on top of prevailing trends (and, sometimes, rather short-lived fads). Natural Materials Globally In Vogue Perhaps the most pronounced trend in recent years is the emergence of a preference among growing numbers of RYO fans for more natural, unbleached paper made from organically grown fi- bers, most commonly hemp, but also flax, cotton, and rice, or even a blend of two or more of these. This trend has, of course, been fueled by a general rise in environmental consciousness worldwide. A healthy proportion of – for lack of a better word – "self-rollers" are demanding that their papers be entirely "green" – even down to the gum, which nowadays more often than not has to be natural arabica gum rather than synthetic goo. Back to Nature: The Evolution of RYO Paper As the whole world is increasingly beginning to show concern for the environment, sit back, relax, and enjoy your self-rolled cigarette wrapped in eco-friendly paper. RAW classic and organic hemp rolling papers

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