When choosing rolling papers, one of the factors to be taken into account is the speed with which the paper will burn. Naturally, the amount of time that the cigarette will last depends on other factors as well, such as the quality of the tobacco, but a slow-burning paper can help the cigarette last longer than it otherwise would.
The rolling paper's thickness is the greatest determinant of burning speed. In general, thick paper causes the cigarette to burn faster than thin paper does. This is because, with thinner paper, a larger amount of air is able to pass through, causing the cigarette to burn slower. On the other hand, thinner papers are more tricky to roll with, and require a greater amount of practice. In general, the ability to use thinner papers is the mark of an expert roller, and naturally it minimizes the amount of paper that's inhaled.
Although there is no strictly defined standard for measuring the thickness of rolling papers, and the thickness will vary slightly from brand to brand, certain terms for describing the thickness of papers are in common use. From thickest to thinnest, these terms are: free burning, medium-weight, light-weight (or fine), and extra thin (or extra fine). Element brand papers are sometimes credited with being the first extra-fine papers available.
With respect to the material used in the rolling paper, some people find that papers made from all-natural materials (such as hemp) burn more slowly than those that incorporate some synthetic materials. In this regard many people especially look down on flavored rolling papers, which (though novel) tend to burn both faster and less evenly. Those with especially fine tastes can even obtain all-natural, vegan rolling papers, such as RAW Hemp papers.
Another factor affecting the slowness of the burn is the gum used on the paper. Natural gums are preferred by many, as a way to avoid inhaling unnatural substances and also because synthetic gums can sometimes cause the paper to burn faster. Paper with out any sort of gum will burn slowest of all, but rolling a cigarette in gum-free paper can take quite a bit of practice. Still, it might be a skill worth learning, simply for style points: you can point out that, before Napoleon granted the Lacroix cigarette paper company a license to produce papers, his soldiers used to use pages from books as rolling papers.