Personal Experiences of Snuff
Comments welcome in
Why this Web site? This was written in 1998
"Searching the web one tends to find mostly highly suspect animadversions from anti-tobacco grumps, and ghastly and macabre stuff about murder.
"There are some commercial sites, but this is, I think, still the only purely altruistic, non-commercial snuff website: though there is a very welcome newsgroup for snuff enthusiasts run by Graeme T. Steel.
"So my hope is that by putting this out I shall receive lots of information (in my Guestbook ) and also enhance the lives of other lonely snuff enthusiasts."
My thanks to the many who have sent me information since 1998 and now included on the site.
PRO BONO PUBLICO!!
( There are now many nore snuff sites on the web, mostly commercial but also a few non-commercial )
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What is snuff?
Apart from murder, and oral " snuff", snuff is any powder prepared for sniffing. Of course, the main use of the term is for powdered tobacco.
Tobacco snuff is made by selecting tobacco leaf (and also sometimes tobacco stalk, as in e.g. Irish High Dry Toast) and disintegrating it into a coarse powder. It is next ground in a manual or mechanical mill, and then sieved. Various essential oils may then be added for flavouring, after which it is stored in airtight containers to allow the flavour to permeate uniformly.
Way back, individuals used to have their own little snuff mills, grinding their snuff fresh from a tobacco plug (called a "carotte")
Oral "snuff" is very coarse milled tobacco, not sniffed but put in the moutn: see Snuff in the U.S.A.
This website is not about forms of oral "snuff" (illegal in Britain, though that's not why).
It's about nasal snuff.
The "scare" quotes here are to indicate a case of local language degeneration . "sn" is a significant phoneme in English, meaning pertaining to the nose, as in: snout, sneeze,snore,snitch,sniff,snot,snort; and, of course, snuff.
One way of giving up smoking Back to Contents
There are plenty of reasons for giving up smoking (especially cigarettes) of which not the least - unlike snuffing - is avoiding untimely death. Furthermore, is not only expensive, it exposes one to the most vicious persecution.
I have snuffed & smoked alternately for 65 years. When in 1992 I was stuck into smoking heavily, I had an operation & was not allowed to smoke in hospital. So I went back to snuff, and on beingdischarged, I considered: do I want to go on travelling to London in a 10-carriage train together with half the passengers crammed into the single smoking carriage? Do I want to spend £1460( §§§- see below ) a year on cigarettes (being a heavy smoker) when I can enjoy snuff for £60 a year (being a heavy snuffer)? So I have stuck to snuff ever since, and found no deprivation in the transition. On the contrary: I enjoy snuff and its various flavours far more then I did smoking.
But I was lucky: I started with snuff, aged 16, and only later took up smoking. The smoker who might think snuff is an alternative is put off by the first pinch, when he may reel around sneezing and eyes streaming. But it can be done, with care.
Start with a coarse, moist snuff. Don't worry about a big pinch (the little pinch irritates more: in the 1960's I used to bet non-snuffers £1 that they would not sneeze within one minute however much of my snuff they took, whereupon to win the bet they would shovel it in. I never lost.). Persevere a bit. Above all, every time, but only when, the craving for a cigarette is urgent, take a pinch of snuff. Eventually you will find you have lost the craving for cigarettes, and have acquired a craving for snuff.
( § §§ Following the 1980 UK Budget that sum would now be in excess of £6500; (for a 20 a day smoker, £2100 p.a). Whereas the cost of snuff - about £75 p.a. for 3 lbs bought in bulK - has hardly risen, since 1992, The UK Government exempted snuff from tax-- because of its not presenting a health hazard. -- in order to encourage people to snuff rather than to smoke )
Wilsons (Sharrow) have a daft motto (utterly silly in itself, but crazy for a business that makes its most of its money selling snuff): "Smoke when you can, snuff when you can't". It's as if Jack Daniels were to adopt the motto "Drink rotgutting bathtub gin when you can, Bourbon when you can't "
It cannot be asserted with any absolute confidence that snuff taking presents no health hazard - possibly one even greater than the one in 1.2 billion chance of contracting CJD from eating aT-Bone steak, the sale of which until recently was a serious criminal offence in the UK.
Indeed, some medical research should lead to care in this matter: e.g. it was reported by an author in the British Medical Journal Vol. 293, 16th August 1986 that while he had found neither nasal nor antroethmoidal cancer arising in any patient within Britain who had used snuff, Root, Austin and Sullivan had reported the case of a farmer who had placed snuff in the left ear for 42 years, eventually developing a squamous carcinoma of the external auditory meatus; and that moreover the high incidence of upper jaw neoplasms among Bantu in the Transvaal might possibly be explained by their widespread use of snuff containing charred aloe stems.
Clearly, it would be wise to avoid snuffs containing charred aloe stems, especially if it is intended to be stuffed into the ear'ole for over forty years.
The "Cancer Research Campaign" wrote on 8th March 1985:
. . . .there is no evidence of any association with cancer or other health risk in the snuff produced in this country.
For this reason, snuff seems an entirely acceptable substitute for cigarette smoking and could be recommended for addicted cigarette smokers since if they could substitute snuff taking for cigarette smoking, they would greatly reduce the risk to their health.
A cancer research specialist recently remarked on UK TV:
"People smoke for the nicotine - but it's not the nicotine, it's the tar and toxic gases that kill them."
EEC Council Directive 92/41/EEC forced snuff retailers to affix a libel to their products: "CAUSES CANCER". Clear evidence, not of a health hazard, but of duplicitous bureaucratic tyranny.
(Even though the UK Government still exempts snuff from tax because of the benefits to health of encouraging people to snuff rather than to smoke, it was forced, despite many protests, to succumb to this diktat). Hoewever the EEC was caused to modify this to ""This tobacco-based product can be detrimental to your health and is addictive".
Dr. Pöschl writes in his Nasal Snuff Tobacco ABC: " Since no tobacco is burned when taking a pinch of snuff there is no condensate given in the same way as when smoking tobacco..... Nasal snuff tobacco as a smokeless environmentally friendly tobacco enjoyment is not hazardous to health according to general scientific knowledge. Up to now no scientist had been able to prove damage to health through the enjoyment of nasal snuff tobacco. The contents of nasal snuff tobacco are subject to the stringent German Food Act. That is why it is beyond understanding why the EC authorities, certainly because they are not aware of the true situation, stipulate health warnings in respect of this form of tobacco enjoyment. This to our mind is wrong and only leads to misunderstandings."
Click here for more authoritative information Back to Contents
Down the Bloody Pit
Our champagne socialists sentimentally bewail the wholesale closure of British coal mines (a great irony to me, a native of South Wales, remembering how hard-working miners in the 1930's Welsh valleys would make great sacrifices for the education of their sons so that they "won't 'ave to go down the bloody pit!").
A more rational ground of regret was that of the snuff chandlers: a drop in sales. Because the danger of naked flames in coal mines prevented smoking, miners either chewed tobacco or took snuff below ground, though they smoked like chimneys above it.
Chewing was rather more common than snuffing in South Wales (it was thought a great joke to flatter the 14 year old school leaver on his first day down the mine by offering him a plug of tobacco to chew -- then slap him on the back so that he swallowed it and was sick for several days).
Snuffing was much more common among the non-striking miners of Nottinghamshire
Dr. Pöschl writes in his Nasal Snuff Tobacco ABC: "In the German coal mining areas particularly in the Ruhr valley ... nasal snuff tobacco has a ... significant benefit for miners. (It) stimulates the excretion of the nasal membrane and keeps it moist .... less coal or stone dust gets into the nostrils."
Anon (`by the author of "Smoking and Smokers" )."Snuff and Snuff-Takers: A Pungent, Piquant, Comical Veritable and Historical Disquisition ...." Joseph Baker, London, 1846.
Anon. "Le Bon Usage du Tabac en Poudre." Paris, 1700.
Arlott, John. "The Snuff Shop." Michael Joseph, London, 1974.
Baillard, Le Sieur. "Discourse de Tabac." Paris, 1668.
Billings, E. R. "Tobacco: Its History, Varieties..." Hartford, Connecticut, 1875 (Reprinted, SR Scholarly Resources, Wilmington, Delaware, 1973).
Bain, A W. "Tobacco: its History .... in 10 large folio volumes in half green morocco extra, gilt tops." 1836.
Bragge, William. "Biblioteca Nicotiana." Birmingham, 1874 (Privately published).
Bourne, Ursula. "Snuff." Shire 158 Album, Shire Publications, Princes Risborough, 1990.
De Prade. "Histoire de Tabac ou il est Traité particulierement du Tabac en Poudre." Paris, 1677.
Delamotte, W.A. "Snuff and Snuff Takers." London, 1846.
Evans, George. "The Old Snuff House of Fribourg & Treyer." Macbeth, London, 1921 (Limited Edn., 1000 copies)
Fairholt, F.W. "Tobacco: Its History and Associations..." Chatto & Windus, London, 1876.
Fume, Joseph. "A Paper - of Tobacco ... and a Critical Essay on Snuff." Chapman & Hall, London, 1839.
Hill, J. "Cautions against the immoderate Use of Snuff..." London, 1761.*****
McCausland, Hugh. "Snuff and Snuff Boxes." Batchworth Press, 1951.
Meller, H.J. "Nicotiana, or the Smoker's and Snuff Taker's Companion..." Wilson, London, 1832.
Murray, John. C., M.D. "Snuff-Taking, its Utility in Preventing Bronchitis, Consumption, etc." J. Chatwin, London, 1870.
Penn, W.A. "The Soverane Herb; a History of Tobacco..." Grant Richards, London, 1901.
Pöschl, Alois. "Dr. Pöschl's Nasal Snuff Tobacco ABC." GmbH & Co. KG, Geisenhausen b. Landschut, Bavaria,1998.
[Russian] "Handbook for the Working up of ... all kinds of smoking and snuffing Tobacco." Moscow, 1836
Shepherd, C. W. "Snuff Yesterday and Today." G. Smith & Sons, London 1963.
``Snift, Dean, of Brazen-Nose``. "A Pinch - of Snuff ...." Robert Tyas, London, 1840.
****"Dr." "Sir" (bogus titles) J. Hill also wrote farces and was the subject of Garrick's epigram:
"For physic and farces his equal their scarce is: His farces are physic, his physic a farce is"
Cyswlltac Cymru Images of the Ri Khasi; The RI khasi of today, with many photographs
The Khasi Hills in N.E. India were the subject of a sustained Welsh Calvinistic Methodist Mission in the 19th. and 20th. Century. Today there are 300,000 Khasi Presbyterians who still sing the old Welsh hymn tunes and have regard for the Welsh for giving them a literature & saving their language.