The guide to cigarette hand rolling.
There are three basic ingredients needed to roll a cigarette: rolling tobacco, rolling papers, and filters.
To begin with, check your tobacco. If it is dry, it is highly recommended to spread it out and spray gently with water, or to leave it in a tin with a wet piece of sponge for a few days. Smoking dry rolling tobacco is a very unpleasant experience, and should be avoided.
Next, take a rolling paper. There are many brands on the market, the most popular are probably "Rizla +", who make papers in both standard and king size, as well as with different weights. They also make a chlorine free paper (white packet) and brown liquorice flavoured papers (orange packet).
Although filters are optional, most hand rolling tobaccos are designed to be used with them. Swan filters are extremely popular, the best selling size being the "extra slim". Of course, much larger filters are available, up to the size of the filters found in normal cigarettes. Filter size does, however, depends on your personal preference.
Begin by taking a rolling paper, and holding it with the gummed side at the top and facing you. Take a small amount of tobacco and spread it out gently in the central crease, bearing in mind that too much tobacco is the recipe for a badly rolled cigarette. Leave a small, filter-length gap at one end of the paper, and place the filter there.
The next step involves picking up what you have assembled so far, holding the paper between the thumb and forefinger of each hand, and gently rolling the tobacco in the paper so that it forms a round shape. Don't roll tightly at this stage, it induces a difficult draw from the cigarette, and an unpleasurable smoke. Apply minimal pressure. When the tobacco has formed into a cylinder shape, look at it. Is it the same width as the filter? Is it an even across the entire length of the cigarette? If not, simply scrumple the tobacco to adjust the final shape of the cigarette accordingly, and repeat the rolling step. Under no circumstances compress the tobacco.
Now for the most difficult part. Roll the side of the paper that's nearest to you down, until its upper edge is level with the top of the tobacco cylinder. Then, in a swift motion, roll it back up, towards the gummed edge, but this time tuck it between the tobacco and the gummed side, thus forming a rolled up tube. This takes some practise, but (like cycling) it is never forgotten once picked up.
When the roll has nearly reached the gummed edge, lick the strip of gum lightly with your tongue (don't soak it) and gently roll the cigarette up into a complete (and hopefully neat) cylinder. Remove any straggly pieces of tobacco from the open end and ensure the filter is level with the other end of the cigarette. And there we have it, although the most important tip is to be gentle and persistent with your rolling technique.