Reasons for Using Roll your Own Tobacco and Perceptions of Health Promoting Pack Inserts A Focus Group Study with Roll your Own Tobacco Smokers in Scotland



Moodie C & O’Donnell R (2022) Reasons for Using Roll your Own Tobacco and Perceptions of Health Promoting Pack Inserts A Focus Group Study with Roll your Own Tobacco Smokers in Scotland. Nicotine and Tobacco Research, 24 (12), p. 1937–1944.

Introduction: Use of roll-your-own (RYO) tobacco is increasing in most regions, but few qualitative studies have explored why RYO smokers use this product, and no study has considered their views of health-promoting pack inserts. Methods: Eight focus groups were conducted with 18–35-year-old RYO smokers (n = 50) in Greater Glasgow (Scotland) in February–March 2020 to explore reasons for using RYO and perceptions of health-promoting inserts. Participants were shown four inserts adapted from those required in cigarette packs in Canada, with all encouraging quitting, and two RYO-specifc inserts explaining that RYO is not less harmful than cigarettes. Results: Lower price, better taste, the pleasure of rolling and ability to customize roll-ups, and the belief that RYO was less harmful than cigarettes were drivers for use. There were mixed perceptions of the extent to which inserts would capture attention if included in RYO packs. The positive messaging used on the Canadian inserts was considered motivational and inspirational, and contrasted with the on-pack warnings. The messaging on the RYO inserts, in comparison, was viewed unfavorably and generally dismissed. Participants, most of whom were not interested in quitting, did not feel that inserts would lead them to change their smoking behavior. However, some felt that the Canadian inserts could be helpful for those thinking about quitting and young people contemplating smoking. Conclusions: Inserts with positive messaging about quitting, rather than messaging explicating the harms of RYO, were preferred by RYO smokers. What, if any, RYO-specific messaging resonates with RYO smokers merits further attention. Implications: Aside from price, taste, and the pleasure associated with rolling and ability to individualize roll-ups, the erroneous belief that RYO is less harmful than cigarettes was a key reason for use. While inserts with positive messaging about quitting, as used on the Canadian inserts, were viewed as potentially helpful, inserts that challenged the idea that RYO was not less harmful than cigarettes were generally dismissed. Research is needed to understand what types of RYO-specifc messaging could most effectively be used on inserts, or indeed in other media, to challenge the misperceptions that many RYO smokers hold.

Public Health; Environmental and Occupational Health

Nicotine and Tobacco Research: Volume 24, Issue 12

FundersCRUK Cancer Research UK
Publication date31/12/2022
Publication date online30/07/2022
Date accepted by journal21/07/2022
PublisherOxford University Press (OUP)

People (2)


Professor Crawford Moodie

Professor Crawford Moodie

Professor, Institute for Social Marketing

Dr Rachel O'Donnell

Dr Rachel O'Donnell

Senior Research Fellow, Institute for Social Marketing

Projects (1)