About Snuff

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What is snuff?

According to Wikipedia, “Snuff is ground or pulverized tobacco, which is generally insufflated or “snuffed” through the nose. It is a type of smokeless tobacco. There are several types, but traditionally it means Dry/European nasal snuff.”

Snuff is one of the earliest forms of tobacco to be consumed, and was quite popular until the end of the 19th century, when cigarettes began to become more commonplace. Recently, is has been slowly increasing in popularity again due to many countries raising cigarette taxes and banning smoking in public places. Snuff comes in many different flavors such as menthol, rasperry, chocolate, and many other varieties. It also comes in varying grinds, from very fine to coarse. Moisture of snuff varies from “toast” (very dry) to very moist.

Various brands of dry snuff

How do I use snuff?

I suggest taking a look at the excellent guide found on Snuffhouse as that guide has all the basics covered. If you want a simpler way of using snuff, I suggest getting a snuff bullet like the one pictured below. Snuff bullets allow snuff to be catapulted into your nose, and it helps to prevent you from accidientally sniffing too hard and inhaling the snuff into your throat (which you want to avoid). Amazon sells a good stainless steel snuff bullet, which is where I ordered mine from. There are also many modern and antique snuff boxes, some of which are very collectible.
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The Magic Bullet, an easier way to take snuff

Once the snuff is in your nose, keep it there for a few minutes until you need to blow your nose or have enough of a nicotine kick. I find that snuff provides a very quick and pleasant nicotine kick that lasts for a short while. It reminds me a bit of the kick I used to get from cigarettes, rather than the slow onset of the nicotine buzz that I get from snus. Blow your nose once or twice, and all of the tobacco will be gone.

Is snuff harmful?

Like most things, snuff is not 100% safe. However, most research points to snuff being much safer than cigarette smoking. An article from The British Medical Journal states that:

Unlike tobacco smoke, snuff is free of tar and harmful gases such as carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides. Since it cannot be inhaled into the lungs, there is no risk of lung cancer, bronchitis, and emphysema … Though we are not aware of any direct evidence, prolonged heavy use of dry snuff might well carry a slight risk of nasopharyngeal cancer … The position with coronary heart disease is not clear. It is not known whether nicotine or carbon monoxide is the major culprit responsible for cigarette-induced coronary heart disease. If it is carbon monoxide a switch to snuff would reduce the risk substantially,but even if nicotine plays a part our results show that the intake from snuff is no greater than from smoking.

How can I get started using snuff?

The best way to get started is to try a few different varieties, and experiment with what you like. Snuff can be purchased in many cigar and pipe stores, as well as online. I recommend taking a look at Toque and Northerner, as I have used both stores and have never had a problem with either one of them. Snuff is much cheaper than cigarettes, and Toque offers free shipping on all orders which is an added bonus.

Is sneezing normal when using snuff?

For many beginners, sneezing is both normal and encouraged. Some varieties of snuff (especially toast varieties) cause more sneezing than others. Personally, I have only sneezed a few times while taking snuff, and it was usually because I ended up inhaling some of the snuff.