Published on May 31, 2006 at 4:40 PM
According to a survey of 1,000 smokers in the UK one in four smokers believe that hand-rolled tobacco presents less risk to health than manufactured cigarettes.
The survey carried out by the National Health Service Smoking Helpline found many smokers had no idea of the risks and that some research has in fact suggested that roll-ups are more harmful.
The popularity of roll your own cigarettes has doubled since 1990 growing from 11% then to 24% today and many smokers harbour the delusion that they are less harmful.
The results of the survey coincide with World Health Organization's World 'No Tobacco Day' poll which found more teenagers were smoking non-cigarette products than cigarettes.
A series of events will be held across the world this week to mark the day and raise awareness about the dangers of smoking; this year's theme - "Deadly in any Form or Disguise" heralds a series of events being held the worldwide.
Public health minister Caroline Flint says it is important to de-bunk the myths associated with rolling tobacco as it is not less harmful, it is not more natural and a person is just as likely to develop smoking related illnesses as a result.
Many of those polled said their motivation was the cheaper cost and that roll ups made them smoke less, but many experts are concerned at how many pollsters cited supposed health benefits and believed rollups were less toxic.
Research has in fact found that roll-ups are more likely to cause lung and oesophagal cancer.
The WHO survey of 750,000 13 to 15-year-olds across the world raises another major concern as it found that 11% of teenagers smoked tobacco products other than cigarettes, compared to 9% smoking cigarettes.
The WHO lays the blame squarely on misleading marketing campaigns which implies non-cigarette smoking is less dangerous.
The report says waterpipes or smokeless products such as snuff or snus were becoming popular as well as rollups.
Dr. Yumiko Mochizuki-Kobayashi, director of the WHO tobacco free initiative, says tobacco can kill in any guise and that is why all products containing tobacco need to be regulated immediately in all forms.