Editor’s note: Speakeasy Magazine does not endorse the consumption of tobacco products. Stay in school, kids.
It’s 2 a.m., and you’re on the back porch of some furniture-less shanty of a house. You’re chatting up a comely young lush, “hitting it off,” as it were. You’re both liberally imbibed. Chances are, one of you is going to ask for a cigarette.
Don’t be the one asking for a cigarette.
Instead, plump with Peitho’s aplomb, you yank out your shiny cigarette tin. You flip the case open, revealing to the object of your desire a row of some of the finest smokes a college student will ever have the fortune of seeing. You take out two. Light up the object of your affection first. Then, as they inhale the juicy nicotine, casually say, “I roll my own cigarettes.”
Welcome to sploosh city.
We all know about the Marlboro men . . . The Joe Camels . . . Ronald Reagan. We all acknowledge that cigarette smoking makes us much cooler, right? Let’s at least agree on that. However, what if I told you that those aforementioned “paragons of coolness” were actually total fucking losers?
Unlike the true rugged men of the Wild West, or the movers and shakers of the Roaring 20’s, those corporate shills promoted a more sinister tobacco product. They favored a cigarette mass-produced by the sweaty capitalist grind, popularizing a culture that valued the convenience of smoking over the joy of smoking. Nicotine products — one of the only vices that America recognizes as “okay” — were assimilated into the quantity over quality market. As a result of competition, cigarettes became more addictive. Big tobacco continued to throw more additives into the pot, ranging from citronella oil (an insect repellent) to Eucalyptol (also an insect repellent). In brief, shit’s nuts. Therefore, instead of propping up a million-dollar poison-peddling oligarchy of shite, roll your own cigarettes.
Self-rolled cigs retain an air of swagger. A man with a pack of Newports tucked into his breast pocket never has the same amount of panache as the self-roller next to him. Of course, both gentlemen are doing the same dirty deed — tobacco is a deadly succubus that should be approached with caution — but the man puffing on the cigarette he crafted himself ultimately appears to be the healthier, more put-together guy. This is because rolling one’s own cigarettes is an artisan craft of sorts. It has the same rugged allure that comes hand-in-hand with woodworking, shaving with a straight razor, or brewing your own ale. It’s vintage, it’s cool, it’s intrinsically yours. You know what you’re ingesting when your lungs are mingling with just some Amsterdam Shag and an Abadie rolling paper. Smoking pre-packaged cigarettes is like sticking your bird in a Central Park bathroom glory hole. You’re taking a gamble with your precious bits, and that’s no good.
Rolling your own cigarettes is also one of the most therapeutic things I’ve done. I sit on the floor, I twist the tobacco between my fingers, smoothing over the bumps. My favorite music plays in the background. I hum along. Within two minutes, I have a plump, all-natural coffin nail to share with friends or a special someone. Keep in mind, you don’t have to roll the cigarettes by hand; Smoke Zone, The Import House and Twilight Boutique all sell rolling machines for the shaky-handed. Even so, rolling by hand is fantastic “practice” if your oral fixation extends beyond tobacco products. Insert wink and nudge. However, for simplicity’s sake, I have included a tutorial on how to roll with a machine below.
Also, stop wasting so much money buying packs of cigarettes! Last year, a pack of Marlboro Reds cost $5.88. That’s approximately 29 cents per cigarette. If you’re a habitual smoker, those federal monies disappear rather quickly. What are you doing, wasting all that cash? You bane of frugality, you fucking monetary milquetoast! Conversely, my pack of Bali Shag, which only set me back about $7, lasted me over a month. This is because you can gauge exactly how much tobacco you want in each cigarette. You can also roll shorter or longer cigarettes, depending on your preference. You can have an intimate, long-lasting smoke, or you can have a thin, quick smoke. The important thing here is variability, something that you don’t completely have when you purchase store-bought nicotine products.
Lastly, remember that, unless you have easy access to Chinese cigarettes like Suyan, you’re probably going to be smoking something low-quality. That is, unless, you roll your own. So stop breaking the bank on flimsy smokes. Be a rugged human. Roll ’em and smoke ’em yourself.
You want to get into rolling your own? Here’s how:
The writer of this column is an avid journalist and a certified schmegeggy. Follow him on Twitter @lucashakes.