Government warns on hand rolling myths

In collaboration with the Press Association

The government has warned that smoking hand-rolled tobacco is just as harmful as smoking ready-made cigarettes, despite public perceptions to the contrary.

A survey by the NHS Smoking Helpline found that a quarter of smokers believed that hand-rolled tobacco was less harmful than normal cigarettes.

The number of people smoking hand-rolled tobacco, which is substantially cheaper than ready-made cigarettes, has doubled since 1990.

Some studies have suggested rolling tobacco may in fact be more harmful than normal cigarettes, carrying greater risks of both lung cancer and cancer of the gullet.

"It's so important that we de-bunk the myths associated with rolling tobacco - it's not less harmful, it's not more natural and you're just as likely to develop smoking related illnesses," public health minister Caroline Flint told the BBC.

"Smokers are attracted to own-rolled because they offer a cheaper nicotine fix," added anti-smoking expert professor Martin Jarvis of University College London.

"But they should not delude themselves that they are somehow more natural or less toxic."

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