Yes, it is possible to have your smokes for under $1 per pack but, you’ll be rolling your own. However, you’ll still be spending over $3 per pack if you use commercially available, precessed, rolling tobacco such as Bugler, Drum, American Spirit, or some other brand.
Other reasons to roll your own, beside plain cost, is that manufactured cigarettes contain a ton of additives used to change the flavor, turn the tobacco into pulp and then into what is basically a ‘tobacco paper’ for shredding and to change nicotine levels.
The way to get your cost down to under $1 per pack is to buy unprocessed tobacco then shred it yourself. That can be done with a sharp knife, good paper shredder, or dedicated tobacco shredder.
I’ve been shredding my own tobacco and stuffing my own cigarette tubes for about a year now and my cost is about $0.75 per pack.
To do that, I bought a tobacco blend from “Just Good Tobacco” but, I will be changing my source soon and I’ll be telling you about it in a bit.
If all of this sounds like a lot of work, it really isn’t! Making your own cigarettes is pretty simple and shredding the tobacco is no issue at all. Using the shredder, I can shred enough tobacco for a carton of smokes in less than a minute. Using a “Powermatic I” tobacco injector to fill the tubes, I can stuff a pack of smokes in about 7 minutes while I watch television.
Manual tobacco injector by Powermatic
An electric version of it is also available but, I see no advantage over the manual version.
Cigarette tubes cost about $2 per carton and come with the filter already installed. I bought 30 cartons for $60 and will probably stay with that vendor for those.
Of course, you can buy rolling papers and hand roll your cigarettes with or without filters. There are very simple little machines out there that help you roll a nice, even, round cigarette that does not look like a joint.
What I found most interesting was that before I started rolling my own cigarettes, I was smoking 2 to 3 packs per day but, once I started rolling my own, my consumption went down to less than a pack per day. If I hand rolled, without a filter, I would only smoke about 10 cigarettes per day!
So, how much have I been saving over the time I’ve been rolling my own? If you figure manufactured cigarettes cost $4 per pack (in some states the cost is well over $9 per pack!) and I was smoking 2 packs per day, I was spending $2,920 per year! After starting to roll my own, and shred my own tobacco, my ‘per pack’ cost is about $0.75 and I smoke less than a full pack per day. We’ll just call it a full pack for simplicity sake and that brings my cost down to $273.75 per year! I’m saving $2,646.25 every year and even more since the price of cigarettes is constantly going up!
Of course, those figures only pertain to me and how I smoke. Still, if you keep smoking two packs per day, the savings will still be about $2,372.50 per year.
Now, other than the site I linked to above, “Just Good Tobacco“, there are other places to buy unprocessed tobacco. The reason I point this out is because the tobacco you get from “Just Good Tobacco” is a blend of tobacco leaf pieces…not whole leaves. That usually indicates that they are buying tobacco scraps and repackaging them. Tobacco scraps are pieces of leaf that fall to the tobacco shed floor during the process of curing and bundling.
I’ve decided I want more control over the actual blend of my tobacco too and I want better quality overall. There is a source that is going to be getting started soon called High Desert Heirloom farm. they have just announced that they will be selling whole leaf Virginia, Burley, and Turkish tobacco for about $17 per pound with free shipping.
A pound of tobacco leaf is enough to roll about 400 cigarettes (the center rib of the leaf takes out some weight so, out of a pound of whole leaf, you get about 12 ounces of usable tobacco.) once the center rib of the leaf is stripped out. That comes out to a tobacco cost of $0.85 per pack but, the quality of the tobacco will be better and I’ll have total control over the taste and strength of the cigarette by blending my own mix.
There are two other places that sell real whole leaf tobacco and both charge $16.99 per pound, or more, for their tobacco but they don’t have the blanket free shipping thing going on.
In addition to the price and free shipping, I feel that buying from High Desert Heirloom farm is an overall better thing due to the fact that they are going to be doing a lot of charitable work once the far itself is in full operation. I like what they plan on doing!