Illegal Cigarettes & the Lost Art of Rolling In Cornwall Ontario by Roy Berger NOV 16, 2015


If cigarettes weren’t sexy and cool, people wouldn’t use them. Men smoke, boys don’t but you too, have come a long way, Baby.

The big fancy military-industrial-complex drones, the small amateur drones, the cargo dumping planes, the sixteen police agencies, border patrols,  the flotilla of Mohawk submarines, hot air balloons, midnight racing skidoos, blackmailers, crazy long string kites, quicker transport drivers, flying canoes, moon lit blimps, five hundred dollar a night stoned-out oxy-head shippers and single mom’s facing sixty five thousand dollar fines surreptitiously crossing the St. Lawrence River, all exist because Cornwall kids don’t know how to roll cigarettes.

Because the uninformed children of Cornwall and Canada in general, aren’t taught how to properly roll cigarettes by their parents and educators they fuel the illegal tobacco trade’s production of factory made cigarettes, using the St. Lawrence Valley as a damp, underground Checkpoint Charlie.

The iconic image of the grandfatherly old man rolling cigarettes on a public bench while watching kids play on the swings has been sadly interrupted on a variety of legal and wholesome nanny fronts. How is a generation to learn and bond if information can’t be handed down? No wonder kids are frustrated by their finger fumbling naive efforts

We need to be satisfied with the fruits of the garden in front of us. The money that goes towards smoking tobacco is phenomenal. The effort to avoid paying duty and taxes on the product is part of what contributes to the contraband’s importing and distribution.

Healthy, patriotic, legal smoking means rolling your own cigarettes and avoiding illegal cigarettes. Today’s teens need to learn. There’s nothing like a good smoke between classes, during recess or after school. Today’s teens need to be taught thrift in order for them to continue upgrading their stamp collections, shortwave radios or investing in an R.E.S.P for their preferred bible college.

Are we thinking things through? Where is our social conscience? Where is the merit badge for rolling smokes eh, Mr. Baden Powell?

The shaming of the hand crafted built cigarette must become a poor memory. The tailor made cigarette as a daily habit, easily costs ten times more than rolling – that’s thousands of dollars a year. The monetary difference between buying a pack of pouch tobacco as opposed to a pack of factory smokes, over five years, is enough for a significant down payment against a house in Cornwall or a mansion in Windsor. This is easy new math simply taught at secondary school level if not earlier. The savings are sufficient capital for any venture. Have you all become Marxists? Are you against capital? Is it the Soviet of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry now? Rolling cigarettes by hand allows for a modest dollar a day habit, fully paid taxes to the purse of the Crown and as you know, adds to the pleasure of any civilized public train or bus ride.

I don’t refer to the maniacal indulgence of cranking out paper tubes on the kitchen table while sausage stuffing it from a bale of tobacco. I’m talking about the comfort of gently laying down a pinch of sweet tobacco in thin folded paper, gently curled over with the finger tips and silently licked by the tongue to make a smoke. Now, an earned smoke, something worth having, while waiting for the bus, is far more pleasurable than any common trollop trigger smoke pulled from a pack. Should the transport arrive early, as it may, then such a sacrificed tossed “rollie” is worth nary a nickel. Naturally this smoker tends to smoke less due to the strength of the tobacco and the effort to create.

The proud smoker respects global warming by rolling their own cardboard filters. Buddy can tear up a biodegradable business card, roll up an edge and wiggle it into the end of the cigarette as a stopper for the sweet spitting shreds of tobacco. I cannot extol the virtues of electronic vaping as it increases the demands for nuclear energy as a source which is so totally anti-hip.  I can however hold up the, butane free, Zippo lighter.


It is facetious to discuss the illegality of smoking in a car containing children while the same vehicle is driving down a fume filled highway current flowing with the debris of diesel, detritus exhaust fumes and enough rubber tire dust to create an island.

Santa set his example by smoking a pipe but the next time you read about a police chase ending with a Ford F-150 pick-up truck, side swiping a utility pole, spilling baggies of cigarettes all over the avenue while the suspects run faster, leap higher and hide longer in a nearby cousin’s/aunt’s house, wouldn’t it be comforting to know that your child is innocent of contributing to such folly by the virtue of rolling their own? Free the children.


Roy Berger is a contributor to Fogel’s 2015 Underground Comic Book Guide. and author of 2012 Rabbits


  1. So, you want to promote smoking amongst kids? Seriously?? No matter the form smoking is bad for you. To start CANCER!!

  2. Author

    Hugger Hugger Hugger….. 🙂

  3. Sorry, but this article is in very bad taste.

  4. Author

    That may be true Hugger, but it was very entertaining and Mr. Berger is very talented.

  5. I was a full-tilt heavy smoker for over fifty years. Switched to “illegal” smokes when the price got ridiculous. Not even a twinge of guilt about that. Now I only vape. Haven’t had a smoke since last February. E-cigs rock! BTW, I have had zero health issues. Don’t even have a doctor.

  6. E-cigarettes are unregulated in Canada. With no regulation who knows what they’re putting in those packages.

  7. There are only about three basic ingredients in e-juice, Hugger, and none of them cause coughing and wheezing. Tobacco products are regulated. and we all know the damage they can do.

  8. . I eat radioactive apples. I drink radioactive water. I wash in radioactive soap. I boil radioactive coffee. Radioactive cigarettes have a bad reputation.

  9. @ Hugger.. Huh? Every thing we consume, including the air we breath, is radioactive. It doesn’t take a genius to know that.

  10. To Furtz et al….it wasn’t me that posted that, someone else posted under my name. Jamie has removed the post.

  11. In the illegal smokes you get a little horse furtilizer mixed in with whatever else they put into that mighty strange tobacco if it is tobacco. A little bit of this and a little bit of that would make anyone quit smoking altogether to know what is in that garbage. It all goes up in smoke and you can make smoke signals.

  12. Jules
    Native tobacco is mixed with different tobaccos to get that certain flavor, while legal tobacco has over 600 dangerous chemicals added intentionally, including what you think is in illegal tobacco, to hook people to their products. I guess you can keep your addicts buying your poisons as long as you pat the tax. .The only reason Native tobacco is illegal is because the government doesn’t get its cut..

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