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Journal of Environmental and Public Health
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 406283, 7 pages
Research Article

Trends in Roll-Your-Own Smoking: Findings from the ITC Four-Country Survey (2002–2008)

1Tobacco Control Unit, Cancer Council Victoria, 100 Drummond Street Carlton, VIC 3053, Australia
2Cancer Research UK, Health Behaviour Unit, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College, London WC1E6XA, UK
3Department of Psychology, University of Waterloo, 200 University Avenue West, Waterloo, ON, Canada N2L 3G1
4Department of Health Behavior, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Elm and Carlton Streets, Buffalo, NY 14263, USA
5Department of Public Health, University of Otago Wellington, P.O. Box 7343, Wellington South 6242, New Zealand

Received 10 November 2011; Revised 5 March 2012; Accepted 6 March 2012

Academic Editor: Lorraine Greaves

Copyright © 2012 David Young et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Objective. To establish the trends in prevalence, and correlates, of roll-your-own (RYO) use in Canada, USA, UK and Australia, 2002–2008. Methods. Participants were 19,456 cigarette smokers interviewed during the longitudinal International Tobacco Control (ITC) Four-Country Survey in Canada, USA, UK, and Australia. Results. “Predominant” RYO use (i.e., >50% of cigarettes smoked) increased significantly in the UK and USA as a proportion of all cigarette use (both P<.001) and in all countries as a proportion of any RYO use (all P<.010). Younger, financially stressed smokers are disproportionately contributing to “some” use (i.e., ≤50% of cigarettes smoked). Relative cost was the major reason given for using RYO, and predominant RYO use is consistently and significantly associated with low income. Conclusions. RYO market trends reflect the price advantages accruing to RYO (a product of favourable taxation regimes in some jurisdictions reinforced by the enhanced control over the amount of tobacco used), especially following the impact of the Global Financial Crisis; the availability of competing low-cost alternatives to RYO; accessibility of duty-free RYO tobacco; and tobacco industry niche marketing strategies. If policy makers want to ensure that the RYO option does not inhibit the fight to end the tobacco epidemic, especially amongst the disadvantaged, they need to reduce the price advantage, target additional health messages at (young) RYO users, and challenge niche marketing of RYO by the industry.