The history of the rolling paper and pre-rolled cone industry

Over the last ten years, the rolling paper and pre-rolled cone industry has boomed. There are now more markets and innovations than ever before, making it an exciting time to be in the smoking industry.


But how much do you actually know about the history of the rolling paper and pre-rolled cones business?

Amazingly, rolling papers are said to date all the way back to the 1500s, well sort of anyway. Around this time, tobacco was introduced to Spain from the New World. This led to the development of a tobacco trade throughout Europe. 

Aristocrats used to smoke tobacco rolled in palm and tobacco leaves and throw the butts on the ground. Peasants would collect whatever was discarded and roll it in small scraps of newspaper. Given that newspapers of the time were crudely made, with fibrous papers and harsh printing dyes including lead, it can’t have been a pleasant smoking experience.

A couple of hundred years later, a man called Alexandro Rizlette de Cramptone Lacroix realized that there had to be a better, more profitable way of manufacturing smoking papers. He founded the earliest known rolling paper company, Pay-Pay, in Spain in the early 1700s. This company went on to become the famous Rizla brand rolling papers. The Lacroix family built and opened a mill that could produce rolling papers of high quality and volume. This first mill would form the basis of factory production models for centuries to come.

Rizla even fueled the French Revolution by supplying Napoleon and his soldiers with rolling papers, in order to save the books they were tearing up to use as rolling papers. Along the way, the company refined its processes, used natural gums and materials. Rizla created a better paper product that would enhance the smoking experience. In many ways, they were trailblazers, who could never have predicted how big the industry would grow today.


Photo by Michal Matlon on Unsplash


And what about pre-rolled cones?

Although the start date is a little vague, historians believe that the first reported use of hand-rolled cones was sometime before 1856 in Mexico. There are reports of chemists using hand-rolled cones in medicinal practices and laborers during breaks while working. Moving into the 20th century, as jazz clubs, speakeasies and prohibition were the talks of the town, people increasingly enjoyed hand-rolled cones as an easy way to pack cigarettes to be taken on a night out. 

Fast forward and shifting markets and legislation have seen the rolling paper and smoking industry transformed. It’s now a global market, with fierce competition for market share, and consumers who demand the highest quality of rolling papers available.

Consumers want convenience, papers that are easy to find, fit their lifestyle, and ensure an enjoyable experience. Gone are the heavy papers designed for crude tobacco products. Companies are now producing the finest papers with tightly wound fibers to limit oxygenation of the cigarette, producing a slow, smooth burn. Papers are clean, additive-free and unbleached. Rolling paper manufactures use only the highest quality processes and ensure they meet the numerous global market regulations. 

Paper cone-rolling has been mastered by Mitra Prodin, ensuring uniformity and the highest quality across their range of paper cones. And it’s never been easier for discerning consumers to find the right paper product for their needs.

It’s a long way from the lead-laced papers that Napoleon’s soldiers were smoking! 


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