Although they are available virtually everywhere, cigarette papers have their drawbacks. They are often bleached with chemicals, or sometimes they are simply too thick and may irritate a sensitive nose and throat. Perhaps there are no existing rolling papers that suit your fancy, or maybe you're conducting your own personal boycott against a chosen company. Whatever the reason, there are many alternatives to conventional rolling paper.
Made famous by Bob Marley himself, corn husks may seem like an unlikely alternative. A process is necessary to make the husks viable as rolling papers. The fibers should be removed so they can be used to secure the rolled cigarette. Then they must be dipped in water, dried and cut to size, usually in a rectangular shape.
Cigarillos are mini-cigars, smaller, thinner versions of cigars. Like their larger counterparts, they are encased in leaves of tobacco. Certain brands of cigarillos can be stripped and unwrapped by using a small, simple knife. The unwrapped tobacco leaves can be set aside and used as rolling papers. After you have rolled your cigarette with the leaf, moisten and seal with your mouth or a damp cloth. It needs to sit and dry before you can smoke it.
Phone Book Paper
The thin, translucent consistency of phone book paper means that it can also be used as a rolling paper substitute. A disadvantage of phone book paper is that it is often covered with colorful type, which can make inhalation painful and perhaps even toxic. If you wish to use this as a rolling paper substitute, try to trim off a piece that is free of ink.
Not a recommended alternative because they are made of plastic, the material is still thin and porous enough to make a decent rolling paper alternative. Tampon wrappers also have the added bonus of already being in a rolled up, tube form. Burning plastic results in dangerous carcinogens that you should avoid inhaling whenever possible, but if you can find a tampon wrapper that is not made of plastic, then so much the better.
Gum wrappers are made of a translucent, porous material similar to phone book paper. The presence of foil requires some maintenance before they can be used. Foil is even worse for you to smoke than plastic. Thoroughly remove the foil by scraping it with a knife before rolling it into a cigarette.
Light, thin, with plenty of room to breathe, coffee filters have the advantage of being cut down to any size you desire. However, they are often bleached or made of thick paper, and therefore have some of the same disadvantages of conventional cigarette paper. Coffee filters made of recyclable or biodegradable materials are preferable.
Kristy Ambrose enjoys writing about teaching, travel and pet care. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English literature from the University of Victoria.