A cigarette is usually defined as smokable tobacco wrapped within a paper wrapper. At one time, every cigarette smoker knew the skill of hand-rolling shredded tobacco into a slip of paper, using his or her fingertips. Cigarettes were as thick as desired, often tapered, and as long as the available scrap of paper might allow.

With the invention of automated cigarette rolling machines during the mid-to-late nineteenth century, cigarettes acquired a set of specific dimensions. As the need to hand-roll a cigarette vanished, the notion that a cigarette should be instantly available to light became the norm.

Today, home rollers of cigarettes generally use an injection device to stuff the tobacco into a ready-made tube that is already tipped with a cigarette filter. And the tubes themselves are offered in milder or stronger versions, as well as in menthol.