The Noxious Rollies

"I'm going downstairs to buy more "ang hoon" (or more commonly, loose tobacco leaves) to make rollies!" You may have heard this sentence years ago, and now it may be coming back. Roll-your-own-cigarettes are also known as rollies and were favoured by the older generation. Now, these are gaining popularity among the young.

Users typically put a wad of tobacco leaves on a rectangular piece of paper, which is then rolled into a tube and smoked from one end. Tobacco leaves are easily obtained from supermarkets and convenience stores and one bag, which is enough to fill fifty rollies, are sold for as meagre an amount as five dollars! This is one of the reasons why rollies are getting popular. Normally, one pack of twenty cigarettes are sold for twenty dollars and are finished in a week or so, but one bag can keep one going for as long as a month. Also, a twenty kilogram bag of tobacco leaves are more accessible than cigarette packs.

However, these rollies come with their disadvantages too. They are more damaging to the lungs, as they come without filters that block larger particles of smoke from entering the lungs. The unwelcome particles cause the smoke to be more concentrated and lead to a greater risk of mouth and throat cancer. The amount of leaves bought has zipped uphill from 38,174 kilograms in 2006 to an astonishing 82,994 kilograms! Doctors warn that users may end up putting more leaves into each cigarette or smoke more cigarettes due to the uncontrolled amount of tobacco leaves.

Ironically, Health Promotion Board have shown that, even the overall proportion o young people who have tried smoking has decreased significantly from 26% in 2000 to !6% last year, there has been an increase in patients who suffer from lung diseases at a younger age. Why is this so? This is probably there have been an increase in amount of rollies sold, which increase the chances of a smoker being diagnosed with lung disease. Now, some diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease are now in their 40's-50, while the range used to be from the 50's-60. This is likely to be due to people smoking at a younger age. Young people that begin smoking have a greater possibility of catching these diseases, as their lungs are still developing.

I think that the government can do more to improve the situation. For one, I think that they can give out quizzes to the younger members of the society through school to increase awareness, and stress that rollies are even more health-damaging to them. Secondly, anti-smoking campaigns can be organised more frequently. I think that parents should not let the government do all the work and sit back. They too play an important role in this. They can keep an eye on their children and make sure that they do not smoke. From young, they can stress to them the consequences of smoking. Say no to rollies!


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Hi guys, I'm a student in Singapore, and this are some thoughts and essays I have written over the years.