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Not to be confused with moist (placed under the upper lip) form of Swedish snuff called snus or American dipping tobacco.
Tins of British Nasal Tobacco
1894 Kinetoscope of Fred Ott taking a snuff, taken by Thomas Edison's laboratory.

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. In the United States, "snuff" can also refer to dipping tobacco, which is applied to the gums rather than inhaled.



European (dry) snuff

The Monk of Calais (1780) by Angelica Kauffmann, depicting Pastor Yorick exchanging snuffboxes with Father Lorenzo "..having a horn snuff box in his hand, he presented it open to me.--You shall taste mine--said I, pulling out my box and putting it into his hand." From Laurence Sterne's A Sentimental Journey.

Dry snuff, or European snuff is usually scented or flavored and is intended to be sniffed through the nose. Typical flavors are floral, mentholated (also called 'medicated'), fruit, and spice, either pure or in blends. Other common flavors include:

Modern Flavors

Apart from flavors, dry snuff also comes in a range of texture and moistness, from very fine to coarse, and from toast (very dry) to very moist. Often drier snuffs are ground finer.

Scotch snuff is made of the strongest sort of tobacco, and is put up in bladders and bottles, without being scented.

Rapee and maccouba are put up in jars and bottles; and the former is generally scented with bergamont, and the latter with the attar of roses.


A tin of Copenhagen American dipping tobacco.

Moist snuff is called snuff or dip in the U.S. It is applied to the gums, rather than sniffed. Called dipping tobacco, it is similar to snus, a Swedish tobacco product, and it is possible that this type of snuff originated in Sweden or Scandinavia[citation needed]. American snuff comes in many varieties, with flavours including peach, mint, and licorice. Dipping tobacco is distinct from chewing tobacco.

In India, creamy snuff is a paste consisting of tobacco, clove oil, glycerin, spearmint, menthol, and camphor sold in a toothpaste tube. It is marketed mainly to women in India and is known by the brand names Ipco (made by Asha Industries), Denobac, Tona, Ganesh.


When snuff taking was fashionable, the manufacture of snuff accessories was a lucrative industry in several cultures. In Europe, snuff boxes ranged from those made in very basic materials, such as horn, to highly ornate designs featuring precious materials made using state of the art techniques. Large snuff containers, called mulls, were usually kept on the table.

A floral-scented snuff called "English Rose" is provided for members of the British House of Commons at public expense due to smoking in the House being banned since 1693. A famous silver communal snuff box kept at the entrance of the House was destroyed in an air raid during World War II with a replacement being subsequently presented to the House by Winston Churchill. Very few members are said to take snuff nowadays.

In China, snuff bottles were used, usually available in two forms. Glass bottles are decorated on the inside to protect the design. Another type used layered multi-coloured glass; parts of the layers were removed to create a picture.


Snufftaking by the native peoples of modern-day Haiti was observed by a monk named Ramon Pane on Columbus' second journey to the Americas during 1493-1496.[1]

In 1561 Jean Nicot, the French ambassador in Lisbon, Portugal, sent snuff to Catherine de' Medici to treat her son's persistent migraines.[2] Her belief in its curative properties helped to popularize snuff among the elite.[3]

By the 1600s some started to object to snuff being taken. Pope Urban VIII threatened to excommunicate snufftakers, and in Russia in 1643, Tsar Michael set the punishment of removal of the nose for snuff use. However, elsewhere use persisted; King Louis XIII of France was a devout snufftaker, and by 1638, snuff use had been reported to be spreading in China.

By the 1700s, snuff had become the tobacco product of choice among the elite, prominent users including Napoleon, King George III's wife Queen Charlotte, and Pope Benedict XIII. The taking of snuff helped to distinguish the elite members of society from the common populace, which generally smoked its tobacco.[3] It is also during the 1700s that the first tobacco warnings were published, among these, John Hill, an English doctor warned of the overuse of snuff, causing vulnerability to nasal cancers.[4] Snuff's image as an aristocratic luxury attracted the first U.S. federal tax on tobacco, created in 1794.

In Eighteenth-Century Britain, the Gentlewoman's Magazine advised readers with ailing sight to use the correct type of Portuguese snuff, "whereby many eminent people had cured themselves so that they could read without spectacles after having used them for many years."

In certain areas of Africa, snuff reached native Africans before white Europeans did. A fictional representation of this is in Chinua Achebe's novel Things Fall Apart, where the Igbo villagers are regular snuff-takers long before they ever encounter the first British missionaries. In some African countries, such as South Africa and Nigeria, snuff is still popular with the older generation, though its use is slowly declining, with cigarette smoking becoming the dominant form of tobacco use.

Health risks

Users of smokeless tobacco products including snuff face less cancer risk than smokers, but are still at greater risk than people who do not use any tobacco products.[5] As the primary harm from smoking comes from the smoke itself, snuff has been proposed as a way of reducing harm from tobacco.[6] There is little empirical evidence that suggests that switching from cigarettes to smokeless tobacco is effective for stopping smoking, and there is some evidence that smokeless tobacco such as snuff is a gateway to smoking cigarettes.[7]

Legal issues

Oral snuff, in the form of dipping tobacco and snus is banned from all countries of the European Union except Romania, Sweden and Denmark, where the sale of snus is legal. Usage of snus in Scandinavian countries is very common.[8]

Snuff is readily available over the counter in most European tobacco shops. In Britain, snuff is much cheaper than cigarettes and other tobacco products as it is tax exempt, however for duty free purposes snuff still carries the same limitations as other tobacco products.

The production and sale of nasal snuff was illegal in Poland between 1996 and 2000.


An Antique Pair of Snuffers, 1888
  • Moeda
  • Bernard brothers - Founded in 1733
  • Lotzbeck - Founded in 1774
  • Sternecker - Founded in 1900
  • Pöschl - Founded in 1902, makers of Gletscherprise, Gawith Apricot & Ozona
  • Wittmann - Founded in 1955
  • Arnold Andre
  • De Kralingse
South Africa
  • Leonard Dingler
  • Ntsu
United Kingdom
  • Fribourg & Treyer - Founded in 1720
  • Wilsons of Sharrow - Founded in 1737
  • Samuel Gawith - Founded in 1792
  • Gawith Hoggarth - Founded in 1854
  • McChrystal's - Founded in 1926
  • Toque - Founded in 2006
  • Jaxons Snuff - Founded in 2007

See also


  1. ^ Bourne, G. E.: Columbus, Ramon Pane, and the Beginnings of American Anthropology (1906), Kessinger Publishing, 2003, page 5.
  2. ^ McKenna, T.: Food of the Gods - The Search for the Original Tree of Knowledge - A Radical History of Plants, Drugs, and Human Evolution, Bantam Books, 1993, page 199.
  3. ^ a b Porter, R., Teich, M.: Drugs and Narcotics in History, Cambridge University Press, 1997, page 39.
  4. ^
  5. ^ Boffetta P, Hecht S, Gray N, Gupta P, Straif K. Smokeless tobacco and cancer. Lancet Oncol. 2008;9(7):667–75. doi:10.1016/S1470-2045(08)70173-6. PMID 18598931.
  6. ^ Phillips CV, Heavner KK. Smokeless tobacco: the epidemiology and politics of harm. Biomarkers. 2009;14(Suppl 1):79–84. doi:10.1080/13547500902965476. PMID 19604065.
  7. ^ Tomar SL, Fox BJ, Severson HH. Is smokeless tobacco use an appropriate public health strategy for reducing societal harm from cigarette smoking? [PDF]. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2009;6(1):10–24. doi:10.3390/ijerph6010010. PMID 19440266. PMC 2672338.
  8. ^ "NewsRoom Finland". Retrieved 2007-10-24. 

Further reading

  • Ursula Bourne, Snuff. Shire Publications, 1990. ISBN 978-0-7478-0089-7
  • John D. Hinds, "The Use of Tobacco." 1882. [1]
  • Hazen Edward, "The panorama of professions and trades"


1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

SNUFF (from "to snuff," to inhale, to draw in through the nose; cf. Dutch snuf, scent, Ger. Schnupfen, a cold, catarrh, and Eng. "snuffle," "sniff," &c.), the name of a powdered preparation of tobacco used for inhalation (for the manufacture see Tobacco). The practice of inhaling snuff became common in England in the 17th century, and throughout the 18th century it was universal. At first each quantity inhaled was fresh grated (Fr. raper), whence the coarser kinds were later known as "rappee." This entailed the snuff-taker carrying with him a grater with a small spoon at one end and a box to hold the grated snuff at the other. Early 18th-century graters made of ivory and other material are in existence. Later the box and the grater were separated. The art and craft of the miniature painter, the enameller, jeweller and goldand silver-smith was bestowed upon the box. The humbler snuff-takers were content with boxes of silver, brass or other metal, horn, tortoise-shell or wood. The mull, a silver-mounted ram's head, is a large table snuff-box. Though "snuff-taking" ceased to be fashionable at the beginning of the 19th century, the gold and jewelled snuff-box has continued to be a typical gift of sovereigns to those whom they delight to honour.

This word "snuff" must be distinguished from that meaning the charred inch of a candle or lamp, which is a variant of "snip" or "snop," to cut off, trim, cf. Dan. snubbe. Constant trimming or snuffing of candles was a necessity until obviated by the modern methods of candle manufacture, and the snuffers consisted of a pair of scissors with a closed box forming a receptacle for the charred wick cut off; the snuffers usually had three small feet which allowed them to stand on a tray. Made of silver, silver-gilt or other metal, "snuffers" were formerly a decorative article of plate in the equipment of a household. There is a beautiful example of silver snuffers with enamel decorations in the British Museum. These belonged to Cardinal Bainbridge and date from the reign of Henry VIII.

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Bible wiki

Up to date as of January 23, 2010
(Redirected to Tobacco article)

From BibleWiki

In Jewish Law.

The use of tobacco for smoking and in the form of snuff is commonamong Jews, who in some countries control to a large extent the manufacture and sale of the product. It is asserted that a Jew named Luis de Terres, who accompanied Columbus on his expedition in 1492, settled in Cuba, learned the use of tobacco, and introduced it into Europe. From this time Jews have been connected with the trade in tobacco, one of the most important in early American history (M. J. Kohler, in "Publ. Am. Jew. Hist. Soc." x. 52). The introduction of tobacco into Europe encountered the resolute opposition of the clergy, who characterized tobacco-smoking as "offering incense to Satan." The Rabbis, however, discussed the use of tobacco not from a moral, but from a legal standpoint—concerning its prohibition on Sabbaths, holy days, and fast-days, and as to whether smoking requires a special benediction. As a subject of controversy it appears first in the "Keneset ha-Gedolah" of R. Ḥayyim Benveniste (1603-73) and the "Magen Abraham" of Abraham Gombiner (1635-83), which fact tends to show that during the seventeenth century the practise of tobacco-smoking spread rapidly among the Jews of all nations.

Gombiner describes the "drinking of tabak through a pipe by drawing the smoke into the mouth and discharging it." The rabbi is in doubt whether or not one must pronounce a benediction before inhaling the smoke, since it is a means of refreshment. As an argument against pronouncing a blessing he observes that there is no "substance" in the benefit derived ("Magen Abraham," to Shulḥan 'Aruk, Oraḥ Ḥayyim, 210, 9). He prohibits smoking tobacco "through the mouth" on Passover, as he was informed that the tobacco was soaked in beer, which is "ḥameẓ" (ib. 343). Benveniste expresses himself very forcibly against smoking "ṭuṭun" (tobacco) on the Ninth of Ab; and he even excommunicated one who smoked on that day ("Keneset ha-Gedolah," to Oraḥ Ḥayyim, 551, 21). He points out the inconsistency of those authorities who permit smoking on holy days because it is a "necessity," a "means of sustaining life," and who allow it on fast-days because smoke has no "substance" like food. In Benveniste's opinion smoking should be prohibited on holy days; he quotes the venerable R. Joseph Escapa as coinciding in this view, though he thought it unwise to enforce a generally accepted law.


The Jews of Turkey at that time must have been very much addicted to the habit, for Benveniste pictures them as inveterate smokers, impatient for the close of Sabbath, when they might resume smoking, and as watching for the appearance of the three stars which indicate the end of the day; some began smoking even before "Habdalah." "They lingeredin the streets and public houses, every man with a censer in his hand, inhaling the smoke and discharging it in fantastic diffusion," until "a thick cloud of incense went up" (comp. Ezek 8:11). He declares that the Name of God is desecrated when the Gentiles observe Jews smoking on their fast-days, while Mohammedans refrain from smoking on theirs ("Keneset ha-Gedolah," ib. 567 [ed. Constantinople, 1729, pp. 101 et seq.]). Some Jews, unable to abstain from tobacco even for one day, filled a hooka with smoke on Friday and inhaled it on the Sabbath. Others would visit Mohammedan neighbors for the sake of the tobacco smoke in their houses. This practise was eventually prohibited on the ground that it would make Judaism ridiculous in the eyes of the Gentiles (Alkalai, "Zekor le-Abraham," i. 142-143, Salonica, 1798).

The Turkish narghile, in which the smoke passes through water, early became popular; Benveniste rules that the "tumbak" (cake of tobacco, over which a burning coal is placed at the other end of the narghile) extinguishes the fire, which is forbidden even on holy days. Gombiner prohibits tumbak because it is like "mugmar" (spice for burning), mentioned in the Talmud, which likewise is prohibited. This, however, is disputed by R. Mordecai ha-Levi in his "Darke No'am" (No. 9, Venice, 1698), who permits the use of the narghile on holy days (see "Be'er Heṭeb," to Shulḥan 'Aruk, Oraḥ Ḥayyim, 514, 1). The controversy finally ended in a victory for those rabbis who permitted the use of tobacco on holy days and fast-days, except of course on Yom Kippur, which is like Sabbath; still, some Jews still abstain from smoking on the Ninth of Ab.


In spite of some objections, snuff-taking was permitted at any time—Sabbaths, holy days, fast-days, and Yom Kippur ("Leḳeṭ ha-Ḳemaḥ," p. 51b, Amsterdam, 1707). Jacob Ḥaziz (1620-74) quotes a responsum of Isaiah Pinto permitting the use of snuff on Sabbaths, even though it cures catarrh; for everybody, even healthy people, snuff, and it can not therefore be considered a drug ("Halakot Ḳeṭannot," No. 101).

It appears that women used tobacco almost as much as men (see Elijah of Lublin, "Yad Eliyahu," responsum No. 65, Amsterdam, 1712). Jewish women in the Orient mostly used the narghile, while in Russia old women used snuff; others smoked cigarettes, like men. So prevalent was the habit of smoking that it was practised even in the bet hamidrash. A strong effort, however, was made to prohibit smoking and snuffing in places of worship ("Paḥad Yiẓaḳ," ט, p. 62a). In some batte midrashot prohibitory notices were posted in front of the doors ("Ha-Maggid," 1859, vol. iii., No. 16).

In countries where the government had a monopoly of the tobacco trade, manufacturing and trading privileges were assigned to Jewish merchants at a fixed price per annum for a number of years. The question was raised whether the contractor had a prior right to the next contract as against the claims of a new competitor. Lampronti decided that contracts were open to competition, inasmuch as the matter depended on the laws and regulations of the government ("Paḥad Yiẓḥaḳ," א, p. 90a). Russian Jews have invented some practical cigarette-making machines for which they have obtained patents.

A remarkable book is Raphael Kohen's "Ḥuṭ ha-Meshullash" (Odessa, 1874), which deals with the question of cigar-smoking on Sabbaths, and which finally reaches the conclusion that it is permissible on the ground that it affords "'oneg shabbat" (delight and enjoyment). Not daring to publish his name, the author issued his book under a pseudonym. His discussion was not considered a serious one; nevertheless it is of a kind unusual in Hebrew literature.

There are several Hebrew poems for and against smoking. Solomon Wilder of Amsterdam composed one in acceptance of a tobacco-pipe as a birthday present ("Ha-Karmel," 1862, vol. ii., No. 20). Another poem characterizes the cigar and cigarette as "the two tails of these smoking firebrands" (Isa 7:4; see "Ha-Boḳer Or," i. 123).

Bibliography: Ha-Maggid, viii., No. 37; Ha-Ẓefirah, i., No. 8; Keneset ha-Gedolah, iii., end; A. K. Kaufman, Räuchert un Shikkert, Warsaw, 1900; Löw, Lebensalter, p. 351; Abrahams, Jewish Life in the Middle Ages, p. 139; Steinschneider, in Die Deborah (1894), vol. xl., No. 1.

This entry includes text from the Jewish Encyclopedia, 1906.
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Simple English

Snuff is a kind of tobacco which is sniffed instead of smoked. People take a bit of snuff between their fingers and put it in their nostrils to smell it. Not many people use snuff now, but a century or more ago it was very common. In the novels of 19th century authors like Charles Dickens we often read about people taking snuff. They kept it in a "snuffbox".

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