Following recent tax hikes on cigarettes, many Israeli smokers are trying their hand at rolling their own as a way to beat the increased cost of getting a nicotine fix.
The government recently raised the tax on cigarettes, driving up the price for a packet by about NIS 2.5. With higher prices burning a hole the smokers’ pockets, Yedioth Ahronoth reported on Monday that rolling your own can cut the price of cigarettes by up to 50 percent, a significant saving for those who smoke a pack or more a day.
Whereas the average branded pack of cigarettes costs about NIS 20-NIS 30, buying the tobacco, papers, and filters for 20 roll-your-own cigarettes costs only about NIS 15. As a result retailers have noticed a surge in the number of Israelis buying loose tobacco and papers in place of their regular brand of cigarettes. Some predict that buying tobacco over the internet may also take off if local taxes are raised on loose tobacco.
Smokers are also reporting that they find themselves puffing less of the DIY cigarettes. Whereas regular cigarettes are always available for a quick smoke, rolling tobacco into a homemade smoke takes time and requires a convenient location. In addition, the homemade cigarettes just don’t taste as good as the branded products.
Tobacco retailers told Yedioth however that they believe the trend will soon end, as have similar waves in the past. With each increase in cigarette prices smokers seek alternatives to bring down the cost of their habit but quickly return to buying their favorite brand, expensive or not, they asserted.