Aim: To examine the prevalence of and reasons for smoking roll-your-own (RYO) cigarettes in a population of South Auckland adults.
Method: Cross-sectional survey of the parents of 2,973 children at four South Auckland Intermediate Schools in 2007-2009.
Result: Just over a quarter (813; 27%) of parents were smokers. Most (82%) were Māori or Pacific peoples (47% and 34% respectively) of whom 47% smoked only factory-made (FM) and 38% smoked only RYO cigarettes. Exclusive RYO smoking was more common among European (53%) than Māori (40%), Pacific (38%) and Asian ethnic groups (23%). The most common reasons for preferring RYO over FM cigarettes were lower cost (50%), lasting longer (42%), and taste (8%). A few chose RYO because they perceived them to be less harmful (5%).
Conclusion: Reducing the cost benefit of RYO should lessen the potential use of RYOs as an alternative to quitting. Health education campaigns are needed to counter incorrect beliefs surrounding RYO. Such programmes should include awareness in schools, churches and Pacific communities.