Which is the best rolling paper available in India

Which brand and type of rolling papers are the best in India currently

The rolling paper industry is 260 years old. The first ever cigarette paper mill was set up in Alcoy, Spain in the year 1764. Prior to this tobacco was rolled in leaves and smoked, but there was a demand for paper since people were starting to roll tobacco in newspaper, which was harmful due to the ink being present. The rolling paper was in sheet form and not in booklet form as it is today. The booklet form came about 50 years post in the year 1815. The first known rolling paper brand in the world is Pay-Pay which is available in the market till date. It was in the early 1900s that rolling paper became what it is more or less today – compactly structured so that the paper burns slowly and ultra-thin so that there is less ash upon combustion. Rolling papers compete with glass pipes/chillam/bongs and typically are preferred by adult users because they are easy to carry and consume. Pipes also get dirty after multiple usages and is a breakable item. Let us look at some top rolling paper brands in the world which are available in India.

1. RAW and Elements:

Founded by Josh Kesselman in 1995 the brand (HBI) primarily sells rolling paper even though they offer a variety of smoking accessory products including cellulose/plastic filters, roaches, pre-rolled joints/cones, rolling trays, ashtrays, clothing etc. The rolling papers are made to be used with rolled tobacco/weed/hashish(hash). In India since weed and hash are not permitted by law (though available illegally in the black market), there are meant to be used with rolling tobacco. Josh was the early one to understand the need for natural unbleached rolling paper that did not interfere with the taste of the substance that was being smoked. The brand is available in 50+ countries including India. RAW Browns are popular rolling papers, but RAW Black rolling paper is thinner than the Browns and more premium. The key competitor of RAW is Republic, with the brand OCB. OCB papers are widely available in India, but there have been multiple cases of fake OCBs in the market which are not recommended for use. The brand Elements and Juicy Jays are also by the same company HBI (RAW).

2. Smoking RED:

It was in 1922 that the brand was founded in Capellades, Spain. In early 1970s the brand started exporting to USA which led to an increase in sales for the brand. In 2006 apparently the brand was taken to court for using carcinogens as a raw material in order to cut on production costs, but later the case was dismissed. The brand offers Smoking Red rolling papers which are thin and of acceptable quality.

3. Rizla:

In 1952 Pierre Lacroix exchanged the rolling paper he had for a bottle of expensive champagne, and that was technically Pierre’s first sales of rolling paper. He thus realised the potential the category offered and decided to enter the business of rolling papers. The brand saw immense growth in 1886 post the launch of ‘rice’ rolling papers. The brand name hence came about to be ‘Riz La+’ (Riz being the French word for rice and La+ as an abbreviation for Lacroix). The company was sold to Imperial Tobacco in 1997. In 2019, the brand launched Rizla Bamboo. The paper is made from chemical-free bamboo and the paper is softer and easier to role than others. Medium thin green Rizla+ papers with cut corners are the top sellers of the brand.

4. Mascotte:

A Dutch brand founded in Eindhoven, Netherlands. This family business was founded in 1858 as a cigar and cigarette factory. The company took off under the leadership of its owner Frank Mignot, at the time of the second world war when there was a shortage of rolling paper and imports were prohibited. The company made thin rolling papers without the use of chlorine and the use of Arabian gum on the sides. The brand’s primary market is Netherlands and some countries in Europe, but is now being exported to other countries including India and sold at a premium of 15% as compared to Raw Browns.     

5. Zig Zag:

Zig Zag(s) were popular in India until 2015 and it was the market leader until then. However gradually over time the market share of the brand in India has been falling. Part of the reason was increasing competition particularly from RAW, and the emergence of counterfeits/fakes of Zig Zags in the market (the same situation which OCB is going through right now). The brand has a rich history of over 144 years when in the year 1879 two Frenchmen Maurice and Jacques Braunstein set up a rolling paper factory very close to Paris.      


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