| We start this issue of RYO Magazine with a restatement of the principles that gave birth to this
publication. Specifically, RYO Magazine is dedicated to the principles of Quality,
Moderation, and Self-determination. In simple terms, this means that we emphasize, to
those of legal age who freely choose to smoke, that tobacco should be treated as an
occasional treat rather than an addiction. We feel that smoking limited quantities of high
quality, nearly additive-free tobacco is preferable to indulging in mass quantities of
commercially packaged cigarettes as is the current habit of more than 50 million
Americans, and over a billion people world-wide.
While tobacco is a legal product, we feel it, too often, is abused rather than enjoyed.
For centuries, human beings were able to enjoy its pleasures, reportedly with little of
the harm attributed to cigarette smoking today.
It is important to understand that there is no such thing as a "SAFE" cigarette. There is no clear research on dosage, or on the toxicity of components in the tobacco smoke of packaged cigarettes as they vary from brand to brand. There has NEVER been any research on the differences in produced toxins between the high quality tobacco we review and write about and the additive-filled packaged brands. One day such research will be honestly conducted and reported. Until then, one must assume that smoking involves a degree of risk.
Having said that, many health care professionals urge their patients to reduce the amount they smoke if they truly do not want to quit completely. We support the logic of that advice. We find a great majority of those who roll or inject tobacco to make their own cigarettes, invariably smoke less and eventually gain control of their obsession until it evolves into the freely chosen diversion it once was.
So with all of the above, have you ever wondered (really) why you smoke? Of course it is because you like it. But, according to most health department bean-counters we have spoken with (in about 38 of 50 states so far), it is solely because of the nicotine. They truly think that flavor is of little importance. Their line is that all smokers are drug addicts and as to packaged cigarette smokers, who obsessively knock off a couple of packs per day, they may be right. But what about the rest of us, those who enjoy an occasional MYO cigarette or a pipe, or a fine cigar? Are we all drug addicts too?
Now, no doubt, you are aware of the fact that we are a pretty drug dependent society in general. The prescription drug business in the US far outweighs anything the tobacco industry has been able to amass. Alcohol consumption is pretty high though per capita not nearly as high as in many other countries. Still we all have our little habits but not all of them are directly related to an ADDICTION to a substance. You can, for example, enjoy liquor without being an alcoholic, and take pain medication without being dependent on it as a daily routine.
We found a statement on the Nicorette website attributed to The American Cancer Society that basically states "nicotine is a drug that enhances concentration and awareness, improves memory and mental agility, and promotes a sense of well being" and ends with the assumption that "no wonder so many people are addicted to the substance." Now, Nicorette gum is manufactured by the PHARMACEUTICAL Industry and they are making a ton of money from this product. There have been questions regarding its efficacy as a way to stop smoking and even if it does work in some cases, it really only would logically switch the user's method of addiction - that is if addiction (chemical) is really the problem.
Humans for centuries used tobacco with moderation mainly because large quantities were not available and smoking was relegated to an outdoor activity. When women began to smoke, smoking moved indoors and the temptation to mass market and mass advertise the product was irresistible to Cigarette makers, who knew that Americans have always been very conscious of image. And it is that image that we would like to briefly address here as it relates to the RYO/MYO market.
People smoke various brands of cigarettes for various reasons, not all of which have to do with "flavor". In fact, if you have smoked a packaged brand recently, you probably have noticed that there is little in the way of tobacco flavor left. What you mostly get is the burn and the reaction in your lungs as well as the chemical effects of the additives in the tobacco. People who smoke MYO cigarettes, when returning to a packaged brand, REALLY can tell the difference in flavor. This difference has NOTHING to do with nicotine. MYO smoke has flavor, not burn. And, in some cases, that is a disadvantage to the MYO world in that packaged cigarettes smokers often miss that burn in their first experiences with Make Your Owns. Further, the packaging of MYO cigarettes and components is no where near as attractive as those cute little cigarette packs or the upscale opulence of say, Nat Shermans (which many MYO people smoke when they haven't the time to inject on the run - and as they have more money in their pocket from savings due to the cost-effectiveness of the MYO method, they can afford the occasional higher priced "boutique" cigarette).
This brings me to the point of this piece. Health issues aside for a moment, we feel that the reason most folks resist the logical argument of making their own cigarettes is two fold. First, many smokers look at make your owns as the province of the impoverished. In other words, as a diversion for those that cannot afford "real" cigarettes. So much emphasis has been given to the economy of making one's own smokes that perhaps the perception stated above is understandable. It would be wise for the MYO/RYO industry to stridently approach the packaged cigarette smoker with a message of quality not economy. In fact, when we do just that in trial situations across the country, we find that the packaged smoker is far more reachable as to a different method. When they see how easy it is to inject a cigarette with a quality and easily functional device like a Supermatic, and experience the enhanced flavor of really good tobacco, the conversion rate is astounding. When, however, they are approached simply on the basis of saving money, the uninformed packaged cigarette smoker raises their eyebrows with that look that speaks with the philosophy of "you get what you pay for." In fact, most of our readers state that even if MYO smoking were more expensive than packaged brands, they would never return to the activity of buying packaged cigarettes. The flavor of a Make Your Own (depending, of course, if that smoker has bothered to explore these pages and subsequently sought the higher quality rolling tobaccos that are available), is simply far better.
So given that flavor/quality is an import issue, and the advantages there lie with MYO and are eventually accepted as fact by the brand name cigarette smoker, what else does it take to attract this traditional smoker to the world of MYO/RYO. Well certainly packaging is every bit as important as content, which is something the advertising agencies in the US and world-wide have known for a long time. In Europe, with 50% of the smoking public handrolling their own tobacco, it is obviously not that important to a majority of smokers there that their cigarettes look like a "joint". In the US however, with 98% of the smoking public still knocking down pack after pack of manufactured cigarettes, the look of the cigarette may be as, or more important, than the taste. Next time you are in a bar where smoking is allowed, take notice of those who lay their packs on the bar for all to see and those who keep their cigarettes in their pocket. Strikingly those smoking major brands tend to pull out their packs for all to see while those sucking on GPC's or Bonus Values will leave them in their pocket and extract one cigarette at a time. This tendency should be all-telling to the MYO world just as the success of Sherman's and other designer cigarettes should be. Make your own tubes are BORING. They look 'generic". The beautiful look of a thin Sherman with dark papers and a pretty filter is an obvious inducement for the product. Shermans do taste better than other packaged brands but not nearly as good as a good make your own.
If the Make Your Own industry is to enjoy a significant market share in the future, they are going to have to address issues of appearance as well as resist the temptation to produce simple "cheap" product, or even worse, follow the habits of the Big Cigarette industry of adding things to the tobacco that will enhance addiction to nicotine and other chemicals. Really attractive tubes would be a good start so that the smoker of these cigarettes can proudly display a high class looking stick in public. It has to become "cool" to smoke Make Your Owns. Aligning the MYO smoker with other cool activities is essential. Aligning the industry with the poverty stricken is suicide.
So we here at RYO Magazine suggest that the tube makers, injector makers, and cigarette case makers, create some formulas for increasing the panache of their products. Work together as an industry to improve the quality and appearance of the components, emphasizing the individual nature of the product. Spread the word that the MYO smoker is using the Ferrari of the tobacco world not the Yugo. It is the next step in an evolutionary process that will hopefully one day return tobacco use to a more ceremonial nature, that it can realistically flourish in, where folks smoke only when they want to and have control over the ambience their smoking behavior creates.
Simply put, if MYO cigarettes looked like a Sherman Natural or even one of the Sherman Classics and tasted like an MYO, the purveyors of MYO products would find it difficult to supply the masses, ready for conversion, to this far more sensible approach to tobacco enjoyment.
Until next time, please remember that this magazine (*see disclaimer below) is for adults 18 years of age or older. Since it is illegal for those younger folk to buy ANY tobacco related products, it would seem to be a waste of time for those under 18 to read on. However great your thirst for knowledge may be, you have better things to do with your time, money AND your lives. Wait until you're 18 and then visit. We'll still be here. Be sure to visit our Buyer's Guide by clicking on the graphic link here. You will find many new things to enjoy. In this special section, you will find all of the bargains and interesting items we come across or that our readers tell us about. The section will be continually updated as new information arrives and, as there are literally hundreds of unusual, practical and hard to find items in the world of RYO, it is our intent to bring them to your attention with links to make your explorations easier. This section remains a big hit with our readers and to make it increasingly effective, we need your continued input. So retailers, manufacturers, distributors and readers take notice. If you find any interesting items or bargains that you feel worthy of sharing with your fellow readers (and us, of course), please e-mail RYO. Everyone concerned will appreciate the benefit derived from the vast resources our readership can provide.
We would especially like to thank all of our advertisers who sell and manufacture a diverse array of high quality accessories and tobacco products, as well as the huge influx of e-mail concerning all aspects of the subject of RYO smoking. This magazine has received little opposition from the anti-smoking forces mainly due to the fact that we, as often stated, are not proponents of smoking but proponents of the public's right to smoke. We recognize the problems that tobacco ABUSE (like any other kind of abuse) can cause, and stress continually, our belief that tobaccos in the purer forms found in RYO products contain far fewer, if any, of the additives that increase health assessment risks. We further stress the quantitatively sensible usage of tobacco as an occasional diversion that we, as smokers, can actively manage. There is no physiological reason that tobacco use need become an uncontrollable habit. For those who enjoy it, tobacco is a pleasurable substance that has a number of benefits to awareness and mood that, when used intelligently, can provide positives unavailable from other substances. But, if you are a four pack a day smoker (or even two), the sheer irritation to your lungs and cardio-vascular system is likely to cause you grief, much like the reaction your system would have if directly inhaling the equivalent amount of smoke from a campfire or other conflagration. Smoking is not a health-oriented practice, at least physiologically. But many forms of entertainment, which seem crucial for our day to day enjoyment of life, pose risk. Moderation is the key in all such endeavors including tobacco use. If you are going to smoke tobacco, it seems only logical to enjoy the highest quality, most additive-free products available. We strive to make available information on just such products but remember, if you feel you should quit, then do it. In most cases it can be done easily with a little creative replacement therapy.
Well, there are lots of new products to look at, so we hope you enjoy your visit here this time and wish all of you a most prosperous 2001.
Check out the links below and keep abreast what is happening in the tobacco wars. It directly effects you and your right to smoke and other endangered freedoms more and more every day. - the ed.
Without a doubt, what should be the handbook for the smoker's rights enthusiast, Don Oakley's "Slow Burn" - an incredibly well researched, powerful history of the facts and fallacies (mostly) of the anti-smoking movement from its organized inception in the early 60's to present - is available at Amazon.com (click the book graphic at right to purchase it immediately online from Amazon.com (highly recommended). This book is filled with detailed accounts of the step-by-step conspiracy that has created the anti-tobacco environment we all suffer today as well as many portents of the dangers of attorney driven campaigns to change the ways our basic rights are defined. It's all about money and it will make you angry . . . AND. . . you will be amazed at how much wool has been pulled over the eyes of the American sheep population.
|EDITOR'S NOTE: These reviews are solely for the convenience of people of legal age who already smoke, are trying to cut down on smoking, wish to spend less money on their smoking, want to roll their own cigarettes from high quality tobacco, and, in general, wish to have a far more satisfying, and economical smoking experience when compared with smoking pre-manufactured cigarettes. We, in no way, encourage people to smoke. Further, we prescribe to a sane, more logical approach to smoking that involves common sense as to quantity coupled with a strong desire to manage the habit until it becomes an occasional, freely chosen, diversion, that can be fully enjoyed with minimal health risks. Finally, we strongly encourage those who do smoke to take it outdoors, or to appropriate environments where tobacco can be enjoyed away from those who do not smoke, most especially children. We do not sell tobacco or related products from this site; We distribute information about our perceptions of the quality of what is available and where it can be obtained. If you are under 18, it is illegal to buy tobacco and you should immediately exit this site. If you do not smoke, it would seem illogical to start.|
© 1999 RYO Magazine
A Publication of
The Andromedan Design Company
is a trademark of The Andromedan Design Company,
and its contents are protected under all applicable copyright laws.