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The roll-your-own cigarette market in Canada: a cross-sectional exploratory study

Scott T Leatherdale123*, Murray Kaiserman4 and Rashid Ahmed5

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Population Studies and Surveillance, Cancer Care Ontario, Toronto, ON, Canada

2 Department of Health Studies and Gerontology, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, ON, Canada

3 Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada

4 Tobacco Control Programme, Health Canada, Ottawa, ON, Canada

5 Population Health Research Group, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, ON, Canada

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Tobacco Induced Diseases 2009, 5:5  doi:10.1186/1617-9625-5-5

Published: 16 March 2009



Even though the use and prevalence of roll-your-own cigarettes (RYO) has been declining over the past decades, RYO remains important. Given the paucity of research examining RYO use, there is a need to better understand the current and potential future context of RYO use.


Data from the 2002 Canadian Tobacco Use Monitoring Survey (CTUMS) were used to examine RYO tobacco use among 23,341 Canadians aged 15 and older. Logistic regression models were conducted to examine factors which differentiate smokers who smoke RYO tobacco all of the time, most of the time or sometimes from smokers who do not smoke RYO tobacco.


We found that 17% (n = 925,000) of current smokers in Canada reported smoking RYO. When compared to manufactured cigarette (MC) smokers, RYO users were heavier smokers, more addicted to nicotine, and less likely to consider quitting smoking. Lower income smokers were more likely to smoke RYO tobacco compared to smokers with high income. Conversely, smokers who had completed secondary school or university were less likely to smoke RYO tobacco compared to smokers who had not completed secondary school.


This study demonstrates that RYO tobacco use is not a negligible problem within Canada and provides valuable new insight for developing future tobacco control initiatives for this population of smokers.