Smokers weigh in on roll-your-own cigarettes

EDITOR’S NOTE: The roll-your-own cigarettes made on the machines at Tobacco Haven are controversial and inexpensive, but are they any good? Three Telegraph staffers who smoke gave them a try.

I’ll stick with my Parliament Lights, thank you.

I took one for the team Wednesday afternoon and tested one of the 200 roll-your-own cigarettes I purchased – on the paper’s tab – at Tobacco Haven in Brookline on Tuesday. They were not my favorite, but I’m not convinced it’s entirely the cigarette’s fault.

Taking a drag is difficult. I don’t know if that’s because it was made with “all-natural” tobacco like American Spirits, or if it was packed too densely. The latter explanation is at least fixable since the RYO machines can adjust the amount of tobacco in each butt.

They also didn’t taste like much. It didn’t feel like anything was in my mouth or lungs. But again, it’s possible another combination of tobacco – robust, natural or mild – and filter – light or full-flavored – would make a difference. This wasn’t exactly a scientific survey.

But the price is right. At $25.99 the carton cost far less than a carton of my cancer-sticks of choice.


One of the few things I like about cigarettes is it gives me a short period of time to clear my head. A quick three to four minutes and I am back at my desk feeling refreshed.

The cigarettes from Tobacco Haven gave me none of that. Anyone who has ever smoked an American Spirit will know what I am referring to when I say they take far too long to finish.

In the time that I would normally be done with my cigarette, I wasn’t even half way through the one from Tobacco Haven.

With “normal” cigarettes, you can cut the allotted 15-minute work breaks into three five-minute mini breaks, taking each time to smoke a cigarette. The cigarettes from Tobacco Haven? You will be struggling to finish one cigarette in your entire break.

They are more mild then Marlborough Ultra Lights. In fact, think of them as Marlborough Mega Ultra Lights with less flavor.


I’m in the process of trying to quit, so just about any cigarette is a good cigarette.

Since the cigarette from Tobacco Haven was hand-rolled, I was expecting a harsh cigarette with no filter. I was pleasantly surprised to find that there was a filter.

However, the first puff, instead of being too harsh was too light. I normally smoke Marlboro Lights, so that caught me off guard.

I found myself puffing harder and struggling to get a good draw of smoke. I didn’t get the satisfying “ahhhh” that I normally get while smoking.

Oddly enough, despite the “lightness,” I got a throat burn and dry mouth about halfway through the cigarette, reminiscent of generic-brand cigarettes.

For the price they’ll definitely do in a pinch, but I doubt brand-loyal cigarette smokers will find them an adequate substitute for the long term.