Snuffs and Snuff taking

Tobacco Snuff: What it is, Where to get it, How to take it

Why this Web site?
What is Snuff?
Varieties of Snuff
Where to get Snuff
Fribourg & Treyer, of Blessed Memory
The Dutch Snuffbox Mystery
Boring Personal Experiences of Snuff

Chagall's "Pinch of Snuff"

How to take Snuff:
Snuffboxes; Snuff Handkerchiefs

Snuff in:
Brazil, France,Germany,the Netherlands, U.S.A.


Health Hazard
One Way of giving up Smoking
Down the Bloody Pit

Cyswllt ac Cymru

"Snuff is as good as a feast"

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Why this Web site?

To my astonishment, I have found nothing* informative on the web about snuff.
Only highly suspect animadversions from anti-tobacco grumps, and ghastly and macabre stuff about murder.

So my hope is that by putting this out I shall receive lots of information (in my Guestbook or by e-mail ) and also enhance the lives of other lonely snuff enthusiasts.

I have no desire to persuade anybody to give up smoking, but I should be pleased to help reluctant smokers to become happy snuffers instead ( see One Way of giving up Smoking ).

*Correction! --- update!! --- Having written the above a couple of years ago I have found some commercial sites, mostly appearing since then: see LINKS

This is, I think, still the only purely altruistic, non-commercial snuff website:
Though Charles Ellis in the USA now runs a very welcome and lively newsgroup for snuff enthusiasts.


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What is snuff?

Apart from murder, and Copenhagen 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")

Copenhagen snuff is very coarse milled tobacco, usually not sniffed but put under the lower lip: a compromise I suppose, between chewing and snuffing. I encountered an old timer in Nevada who when offered a pinch from my snuffbox, put it under his lip (see Snuff in the U.S.A.)

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One way of giving up smoking

There are plenty of reasons for giving up smoking (especially cigarettes) of which the least is its health hazard. It's not only expensive, it exposes one to the most vicious persecution.

I have snuffed & smoked alternately for 55 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 being discharged, 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§ 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.

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 1998 UK Budget that sum would now be in excess of £3000; whereas the cost of snuff has hardly risen, since, many years ago, 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

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Health Hazard
A book on this matter which sounds valuable & authoritative (though I haven't got ahold of it yet myself) .
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 T-Bone steaks, the sale of which has consequently been made 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. (Though have a look at what Dr. Steve says .)
But 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.
EEC Council Directive 92/41/EEC now forces 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)
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."
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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."

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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.,1,000 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.
[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"
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Snuff Forumooo  oooCharles Ellis's newsgroup (USA)

ManufacturersoooooWilsons & Co's snuffs - and how get them in N. AmericaoooooooooooooooooooooooooMcChrystal's
anufacturerso00ooooSamuel Gawith & Co. Ltd, to whom we owe the original Kendal BrownoooooooooImperial Tobacco
ManufacturersoooooPöschl: in Geisenhausen, GermanyooooooooooooooooooMahasugandhi Snuff: Sihor, Gujarat, India

RetaileroooooooooooMcGahey The Tobacconist, Exeterooo ooo ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

General InterestoooSnuff Bottles & History of Snuff in China
General InterestoooHealth advantages of snuff by Prof. Radu, University of Alabama
General InterestoooRoss Clark's light-hearted Daily Telegraph article on snuff-taking
General InterestoooSnuff Poetry, Ancient & Modern: collected by Diarmuid Pigott
General InterestoooFor Pipe Smokersoooo        ooooooo       oooooGraeme's Home Page
General InterestoooBook Indexing for Professionals and Amateurs

Cyswllt ac Cymruo    ooY DDRAIG GOCHoooScriveners: Poets & Writers in Abergavenny, WalesoooY DDRAIG GOCH
oooooooooooooooooooo    ooooo Links to sources about WalesGo More Links to sources about Wales
oooooooooooooooooooooo  oo  ooWelshNetCymraeg: A spendid source of Welsh links - and a free ISP! 

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This site has been rescued for historical reasons by History X's archive to help keep snuff alive.o