Use of roll-your-own tobacco among smokers in New Zealand: results from the ITC New Zealand Survey
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University of Otago, Public Health, New Zealand
University of Otago, Dean's Department, New Zealand
University of Waterloo, Psychology, Canada
Ontario Institute for Cancer Research, Canada
Publication date: 2018-03-01
Tob. Induc. Dis. 2018;16(Suppl 1):A274
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In New Zealand (NZ), roll-your-own (RYO) cigarettes are commonly smoked. We explore patterns of use of RYO among NZ smokers.

We present data from CATI interviews with 910 current smokers from the Aug 2016-April 2017 (second cohort) of the current ITC NZ Survey. The findings are from preliminary analysis using unweighted data and they are compared with findings from the 2007/08 (first cohort) of the previous ITC NZ Survey.

32% of participants smoked RYO exclusively, and a further 29% smoked both RYO and factory-made (FM) cigarettes. The proportion (61%) who smoked exclusively RYO or both RYO and FM increased from 2007/08 (52%).
RYO smoking was most common among Māori (the indigenous people of NZ, 72.4%, vs 55.5% non-Māori) and younger smokers (71.7% < 35 yrs, 63.8% 35-54yrs, 46.6% >54yrs). The proportion of Māori and younger smokers smoking RYO had increased since 2007/08.
Cheaper price was the most common reason (74%) for smoking RYO. Other reasons included better taste (65%) and RYO allowed participants to control how much they smoked (61%). Belief that RYO cigarettes were less harmful than FM cigarettes was more common among exclusive RYO smokers (47.5%) compared to both RYO and FM (32.4%), and exclusive FM smokers (20.1%).
Exclusive RYO daily smokers were more likely than FM smokers to smoke their first cigarette within 15 minutes of waking, were less likely to have made a quit attempt in the last year, and were less likely to be planning to quit.

The increasing prevalence of RYO use, evidence of greater addiction and less quitting among exclusive RYO smokers, and greater RYO use among young and Māori smokers suggests that RYO may be undermining the achievement of a Smokefree NZ. Differential tax increases for RYO tobacco and communication strategies to correct mistaken beliefs about RYO cigarettes may be justified.