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Snuff

Snuff is a form of tobacco consumption which has a very rich history across multiple centuries and is deeply embedded in cultural practices and social rituals. It is believed that snuff originated among the indigenous tribes in the Americas, it eventually gained popularity in Europe during the 16th century following the arrival of tobacco from the New World. To begin with only high class people enjoyed snuff, including royalty! Rulers such as King George III of England and King Louis XIII of France certainly favoured a tin of snuff. But by the 17th and 18th centuries, it was a prominent feature of European culture, with people carrying elaborate snuff boxes as a status symbol.

In addition to recreational use, snuff was also believed to have medicinal properties too. It was often prescribed to alleviate various ailments such as headaches, toothaches, and even as a remedy for the common cold and respiratory issues. However, modern medical knowledge has since revealed the harmful effects of tobacco use.

Despite its historical significance and incredible popularity, the consumption of snuff has declined significantly in modern times, partly due to the health risks associated with tobacco use, but also the way people enjoy tobacco has changed. Most people looking to enjoy tobacco have moved on to cigars, pipe tobacco or cigarettes due to the social aspects of smoking. However, snuff remains a fascinating relic of cultural history, offering insights into social practices of previous eras.

The method of consuming snuff typically involves inhaling finely ground tobacco through your nostrils. Various flavours and aromas are often added to enhance the experience. These can range from menthol and spice to fruity and floral. Sharing a pinch of snuff from a communal box or offering your snuffbox as a gesture of hospitality was common practice among friends and acquaintances. 

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Written by Oliver Partington
 

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