Skip to main content

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is the man on the cover of the ZIG-ZAG booklets ?

He’s a Zouave, a soldier from a special infantry regiment. He’s supposedly the soldier who first had the ingenious idea of rolling his tobacco in the paper of his gun’s powder bag. That’s how the world’s first cigarette was invented, and why the Zouave was chosen for the logo of the brand.

Why do some of the leaves have horizontal lines on them ? How do you do that ?

Some of the ZIG-ZAG papers are what is called “laid paper”. Traditionally, paper was marked this way when they were handmade. A square mesh strainer (a wire screen in a wooden frame) was immersed in a vat filled with water and pulp to form the sheets and de-water the stock. During the process the wire left its mark on the paper. 

Today, this traditional pattern is mechanically marked onto high quality papers while the sheet is being formed by the paper machine.

When did ZIG-ZAG come into existence ?

The first factory opened in 1879, however the ZIG-ZAG brand was established in 1894, and won a gold medal at the Universal Exposition in Paris in 1900.

Who invented rolling paper and when ?

It’s difficult to say exactly, because so many people claim to have invented rolling paper. However, a popular anecdote says it was invented by a Zouave soldier during a battle, whose pipe had been broken by a flying bullet. He was the first to think of rolling his tobacco in the paper of his gun’s powder bag. That’s how the first cigarette in the world came to be. That’s why the Zouave’s now famous face was chosen for the logo of ZIG-ZAG’s famous cigarette papers, which do not alter the flavour of the tobacco.

Source: The rich history of rolling paper: Angoulême Paper Museum.

Why is the paper called ZIG-ZAG ?

It’s called ZIG-ZAG after the Z shape of the leaves, which are folded in two and interleaved, using the process invented by the Braunstein brothers, the founders of ZIG-ZAG. This process enables the following leaf to come up when you pull one out to roll it.

Where does the paper come from ? What’s it made of ? Is it natural ? Is it chlorine-free ?

ZIG-ZAG papers are made on the banks of Lake Leman with pure water from Evian.
ZIG-ZAG offers you a wide range of booklets and paper which can be made from various different materials and special combinations.
Each ZIG-ZAG paper is specially developed to give the characteristics sought after by different smokers (porosity, combustibility, solidity, whiteness, opacity or transparency, fibre composition…). 
Therefore, according to the characteristics required, the papers can be made from linen, hemp or cellulose from carefully used forest resources.
The pulp derived is bleached only with techniques that do not involve elementary chlorine particles. 

ZIG-ZAG are therefore 100 % natural, with an added strip of gum Arabic, which is also 100 % natural and comes from African acacias.

What are the main differences between rolling paper and writing paper ?

ZIG-ZAG papers are developed to appeal to the smoker’s five senses: they preserve the flavour of the tobacco; release pleasant aromas and scents; feel good to the touch and produce a soft sound when rolling; make a beautiful cigarette that is pleasant to smoke.

It’s a very complex paper which requires the finest materials and great technical expertise to obtain each smoker’s favourite characteristics: porosity, combustibility, solidity, whiteness, opacity and transparency, fibre composition…

Rolling paper is very thin, must stay pure and contain no optical brightening agents. Furthermore, ZIG-ZAG is committed to observing the strictest regulations in this area (German D.T.V.O.), whatever the country.

Everyday printing and writing paper are mainly designed for visual use. They are thicker, have a high mineral charge and a very close weave, to give a white, smooth surface for printing.

What is the gum in ZIG-ZAG papers made of ?

ZIG-ZAG uses 100% natural gum Arabic. This is gum secreted by acacias, harvested once a year from trees between 5 and 25 years old, in Africa.

How do you fold the paper ?

The folding is carried out using the interleaving process invented by the Braunstein brothers, founders of ZIG-ZAG. This process allows the following leaf to come up when you pull one out to roll a cigarette.

How do you make ZIG-ZAG so tough yet so thin ?

There are two main lengths of fibres used in paper manufacture: long and short. 
The long fibres form the weave of the paper, which makes it tough. A longer fibre structure makes it more porous.
Short fibres contribute to a smoother and more close-woven paper surface, which is more airtight.

It’s more than a hundred years of know-how in combining both that give ZIG-ZAG papers excellent resistance for rolling, and unrivalled smoking qualities.

How many leaves are there in a pack of ZIG-ZAG ?

It depends on the booklet and paper size. Some booklets have 100 leaves, others have 32. The double ZIG-ZAG 601 Bis booklet contains 100 36×69 leaves. That’s nearly 4 sheets of A4 paper or a 7 metre-long cigarette.

How much does a leaf of ZIG-ZAG weigh ?

The weight of a leaf is measured in grams per square metre (g/m²). ZIG-ZAG offers a wide range of papers, the heaviest weighing 27 g/m² and the lightest 14 g/m2. Compared to a classic sheet of writing paper of 80 g/m², that’s about 3 to 6 times lighter. The total weight of one leaf of ZIG-ZAG Slim Silver is approximately 0.06 grams !

How thick is a leaf of ZIG-ZAG ?

As the papers are generally very fine, their thickness is measured in microns. (There are a thousand microns in a millimetre). The different ZIG-ZAG papers vary from 20 to 40 microns! That’s up to 5 times thinner than a sheet of standard A4 copy paper.
But beware of jumping to conclusions, as thickness does not determine weight. A more loosely woven paper will be thick but not necessarily heavier than a very thin, compact paper. The same goes for transparency, which does not necessarily determine thickness or weight.

What are the differences between the filters (ultra-slim, slium, regular, extra-slim, extra-slim pre-cut and slim menthol) ?

The filters have different diameters. Ultra-slim are the thinnest, followed by Extra Slim, Slim, then Regular. Slim Menthol filters have menthol crystals added during manufacturing, to enhance their flavour and scent. The Extra Slim Pre-Cut are packaged in rods and stored in a handy box.

Why can’t I find all the products shown on the website

ZIG-ZAG products are specially adapted to suit the tastes and preferences of consumers in each country. That’s why certain products are not available at your favourite retail outlet. You may be able to find them when travelling…

I’ve bought a booklet of ZIG-ZAG papers and some of leaves were stuck together. How does this happen ?

Cigarette papers and gum are very sensitive to humidity. We suggest you keep your papers in a dry place.

The ZIG-ZAG workshops have a controlled and constant atmosphere. There are many quality checks carried all the way throughout production, from raw material to the finished product, which leaves the factory perfectly protected in its packaging.

We seek for your full satisfaction and would be happy to be informed of your observations. Write to us using the contact form.

Why is there a bookmark among the papers and why can I count a different number of papers left ?

Most ZIG-ZAG booklets have bookmarks at the bottom of the pack, which indicate the number of papers left in the booklet (a small piece of printed, coloured paper). However, this shows the number of papers remaining – if you count the one you have just taken out, that makes one more.