Call for yellowy-brown rolling papers

| September 20, 2016

The New Zealand government has been urged to increase the excise tax on roll-your-own (RYO) tobacco to make it as expensive as factory-made cigarettes, to require that rolling tobacco papers are produced in an unattractive color, and, perhaps, to get rid of RYO altogether, according to a story by Jamie Small for Independent Newspapers.

These demands were made by Professor Janet Hoek and Dr. Shelagh Ferguson, of the University of Otago marketing department, following a study that found that young people were convincing themselves that RYO was cool and that it was safer than were manufactured cigarettes.

The study, which involved interviews with 20 young smokers, was published in the journal Tobacco Control.

Hoek, who is also co-director of ASPIRE2025, an organization conducting research relating to the government’s plan to eradicate smoking in New Zealand, said that cigarettes made from rolling tobacco were traditionally seen as something used by older, hardcore, heavily-addicted smokers.

But young people had created ways in which they could allow themselves to think that RYO was cool and to distance themselves from those negative stereotypes. Some believed too that RYO had fewer additives than did factory manufactured cigarettes and was therefore less harmful.

The study was said to have shown that increasing the price of RYO would discourage young people from buying it, and to have shown also that young people have a negative reaction to rolling papers that are yellowy-brown in color.

Hoek said that the government should be monitoring the situation.

And if it found that there was widespread evidence of misconceptions about RYO, “there really is a case for getting rid of roll-your-own tobacco altogether,” she said.

Category: Breaking News

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