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Zig-Zag Tubes
"A key development in RYO smoking - the filtered cigarette tube
brings civilization to the less than hardcore smoker."

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  We are very gratified to see a brand like Zig-Zag with a long track record and and huge market presence, enter full force into the the RYO market. They've been making papers as long as I can remember and it is rare to find a market, convenience store, or drug store they've not penetrated. Generally, there is not a great deal of difference between cigarette tubes. They are made by a number of companies in light, regular, or, in some cases, menthol versions and for the most part they all function pretty much the same. There is some variation in the taste certain tubes impart to the smoke, the betters ones imparting less, unless of course, you are using a menthol tube for flavoring. Ideally there should be NO Zig-Zag Regular & Light Filtered Cigarette Tubespaper taste of any kind and we have tried tubes that actually smell and taste like burning newspaper or worse, burning trash. The Zig-Zag line of filter tubes are of outstanding quality with no paper taste of any kind. They come in either regular or light (see graphic at left), Zig-Zag electing to use mentholated tobacco for that particular taste rather than flavoring the tube filter itself.

We were initially interested in this tube far a couple reasons. First off, as stated above, we were glad to see this formidable company expand their commitment to the injector side of RYO smoking products. But even more intriguing was the fact that often on sites where we found this tube, its pricing was somewhat higher than other tubes, less than Rizla but almost always in excess of the Premier, Escort and equal to or even higher than the Bugler tube. We were anxious, therefore, to try it and see if the price was somehow justified. At first glance it seems like a normal quality tube, nicely manufactured, but certainly nothing unusual in construction, appearance, or weight that would indicate something special. If anything, the tube appeared to be a little lighter in weight (empty, of course) than either the Bugler or the Escort light. However, and this is no doubt VERY subjective on our part, cigarettes rolled in this tube seem to have two distinct characteristics, neither of which is justified by anything we physically observed in the tube's construction.

   First off and most important, tobacco tastes great, really great, when injected and smoked in both the regular and light tube. The light tube (the white one with gold bands) really does provide a little bit lighter smoke, unless of course you slide your lips over the perforations (see graphic at right), to cancel the extra ventilation in which case you get aSee Perforations standard full flavored puff. I learned this little trick from watching my partner, Linda, for years incessantly punching holes in the filters of her cigarettes to make them progressively lighter in character. The system was called "Phase-Out"  and came with a cigarette-pack sized machine with  hideously sharp needle-like teeth reminiscent of some nightmare-world Piranha. And it really did, as you punched more and more holes in your filters, reduce the potency of the smoke. Of course if you wanted a better hit once in a while, you simply put you lips over the holes and that would defeat the egress of air that mixed with the smoke in order to dilute it. Well, you can do the same thing with the ZigZag tube if you want. I personally like the brown cork tipped (a design label only) tube. It is not really made out of cork although there was a time when real cork filters were available. The designation, "cork tip" now applies to the brown spotted color of the filter's paper covering. The point is cigarettes taste VERY good when made from these tube. Very subjective stuff, as I said, but discernible and consitent.

   The other noteworthy (again very subjective here) characteristic of these tubes is that cigarettes created with them seem to burn faster and stay lit longer when unattended. It could be a function of the weight or density of the paper. We can't really say but it was an unusual and reproducible observation of especially the white tube's performance. Zig-Zag papers are famous for their lightness (sheerness) and perhaps the paper used in these tubes is finer. There is certainlyClick here to Visit Googalies The Home of the World's Finest Microfiber Cloth no chemical taste that would indicate any kind of special treatment to the paper.

   Again, risking redundancy, we are pleased Zig-Zag is expanding into this growing market niche. These are really nice tubes and perhaps as more enter the market, their price will adjust downward. It may just be that they suffer from heightened import costs (they are manufactured in the EEC -European Economic Community) whereas Premier and Escort are made in the US (some in Canada). Even at a higher price, we recommend you try a box or two. You might just be well rewarded and entertained.

   Next time we will look at other filtered tubes from overseas to see if they are worth the premium price. - RYO


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.

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1999 RYO Magazine
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