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Who uses rollies? Trends in product offerings, price and use of roll-your-own tobacco in Australia


Objective We examined the roll-your-own (RYO) tobacco product market in Australia from 2001 to 2016. Trends in use of RYO tobacco among Australian adults were examined for 2004–2016.

Methods Changes in brand availability, pouch sizes and lowest priced products were noted from trade magazines. Prevalence of smoking of RYO and factory-made (FM) cigarettes among those 18 years and older was obtained from five consecutive waves of a large (n>21 000) nationally representative triennial survey from 2004 to 2016. Trends in cigarette use were examined using logistic regression.

Results Changes in the Australian RYO market from 2001 to 2016 included a doubling in the number of brands, progressively smaller pouch sizes with smaller increases in price than in traditional RYO and comparable FM products. While use of FM cigarettes declined between 2004 and 2016, the proportion of adults exclusively using RYO tobacco linearly increased with each survey wave (OR 1.03, 95% CI 1.02 to 1.05, p<0.001), from 1.2% in 2004 to 1.7% in 2016. Exclusive RYO use among current smokers increased more among females than males, and young adults compared with those aged 30 years or older, but did not differ by socioeconomic status.

Conclusions In contrast to substantial declines in FM cigarette use, exclusive use of RYO cigarettes increased in Australians since 2004, particularly among females and young adults. This has corresponded to a period of substantial changes to the RYO market, including progressively smaller and relatively more affordable products. Policy action to reduce price-related marketing and correct consumer misinformation about RYO tobacco are urgently required.

  • non-cigarette tobacco products
  • hand-rolled/ryo tobacco
  • packaging and labelling

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