Use of Snuff

When one looks at the beginnings of tobacco (1600s into 1700s) from the early Americas, it was grown and exported to Europe. But for years tobacco was not smoked as cigarettes. It was used in different ways, such as in a pipe or later a cigar but what was really popular was using tobacco as snuff. It was not just in European countries but locations around the globe were using tobacco snuff was popular. People would inhale finely ground tobacco through their nostrils.

Snuff can be thought of as a very dry, very fine, very scented version of chewing tobacco, though it’s uncommon today. Like many of the most extravagant and desirable goods of that era, the best snuff combined rich and costly flavorings that elevated any given blend into an exclusive product. Popular scents/flavors were rose, mint, apricot, plum, coffee, wine, cinnamon, and honey. The snuff was used in the person’s nose.

Those in the 1600s and 1700 used snuff and kept it in one’s precious snuff in a snuffbox, the accessory of the moment – carried by men and women alike and available in all different kinds of designs. Those who didn’t want to sully their hands could use a small tool for the purpose of snorting snuff, but it was also sometimes applied to the gums or sprinkled on food, too.

Using snuff was handy as it was permitted in places smoking was not. But using snuff got to be expensive especially with the box. It became cheaper and easier to smoke tobacco or use chewing tobacco instead of using snuff and to many, it seemed more American than the British way to use tobacco.

Anti-spitting laws in the U.S. around the end of the 19th century made chewing tobacco less attractive and smoking became the most common way to consume tobacco. Using snuff was still popular in England in the Victoria era the late 1800s), but even there its popularity waned greatly during the 20th century.

In the 21st century, very few people anywhere in the world use snuff but collecting vintage snuffboxes have become popular.

Any such snuffboxes with your family heirlooms?

Photo: Late 1700s-Gentleman using snuff.

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< Return To Blog Interesting! No snuff box heirlooms, though.
Sara N Martin 29/04/22

An interesting thought !
alice 29/04/22

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