Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Taking of Snuff and Big Sneezing 

'The Monk of Calais' (1780) by Angelica Kauffmann

Like the dinosaurs, I would have thought snuff taking had been consigned to history - the ancient kind.

But then, when for some reason or other, I was peering in the window of a very old-fashioned tobacco shop in Adelaide and some small square tins of the stuff caught my attention.

Peering turned to enquiring, and low and behold I discovered you could even have your own 'formula' concocted and the recipe carefully recorded in a large old leather-bound volume.

I felt as though I'd entered a lost and long forgotten world!

Of course, I couldn't leave the store without two small purchases ...


... which sit in a drawer of my desk, tempting me ever so often to try them! But I'm such a wimp (well, in some things) that I haven't. Perhaps being a non-smoker all my life.

The gentle art was first described by Father Ramon Pane in 1493. He observed locals in Quebec indulging. And in 1561, Jean Nicot (now what word did this name inspire!), the French ambassador in Lisbon, sent a stach to Catherine de Medici - and a new rage was raging. With a small hiccup in the fun being the threat of ex-communication for users by Pope Urban VIII (1568-1644).

Snuff as everyone knows is powdered tobacco that has been scented (commonly spearmint, cinnamon, rose or camphor), a pinch of which up the nose produces the very most satisfying sneezing. Bet I've had far worse sex!

Now if you happen to be in London and you find your supply is running dangerously low ... http://www.snuffstore.co.uk/

And if you find you have been for some reason cut off from other users, there's a Yahoo group ...  http://groups.yahoo.com/group/snuffboxthenasalsnuffclub/

And if you're unsure about your taking technique, there's this Swedish site that'll put you right - http://www.swedish-snus.com/articles/Swedish%20Snus%20Brands-292/Toque-6731/SHOP-0/

Please, someone out there tell me you 'do' it. 

And share with us!

14 comments:

  1. One Who Lived To Regret It.January 14, 2009 at 7:40 PM

    Oh. Sorry. Forgot to mention that my father is a surgeon.

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  2. One Who Lived To Regret It.January 14, 2009 at 7:40 PM

    In the southern United States the use of snuff is very common. Not inhaled through the nose in the classic manner, but "dipped" and placed between the gum and the cheek. Then the extra saliva created is spat out, like with chewing tobacco. It's frankly a filthy and disgusting habit.

    One of the perils of snuff dipping is that it leads very often to cancer of the gums, salivary glands and throat, with progressively more radical surgeries to remove the affected tissues. The results are hideous. If you have a strong enough stomach a Google search will deliver everything you want to know.

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  3. Although I'll never try the stuff, still cool that you found those .. errr... treasures? With this overly-freaked-out anti-cigarette world, I would have thought that that kind of stuff wouldn't be very successful.

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  4. hey greg

    i bet too that the uptake on snuff is not on the wild increase

    also it's not readily available - haven't seen it on the supermarket shelves lately - LOL!

    will have to stretch out my supply - once i start using!

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  5. hey josh

    is that right!

    i seen betel nut paste (spelling?) used in the same way - a lot through asia - had a driver in india who taxi-ed us round rajasthan for a couple of weeks and kept awake for longer trips by placing a wad under his top lip. it seemed to 'infuse' (?) over a couple of hours.

    oh, so that what the spitting (and spittoons) are all about! thanks for that

    and i've heard about the carsenogenic properties of the stuff.

    curiously my father is a surgeon too! general, at a maternity hospital. and he tells stories about mouth cancer wards he's visited where patients are not allowed mirrors after radical surgery - too scary when a jaw is removed - your sense of self is seriously challenged

    so i'm not planning to take up the habit!

    good to hear from you again!

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  6. Just a minor point. Colombus did not visit Quebec. The first European was Jacques Cartier and his crew in 1534.

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  7. Hey Nick,
    Josh is right. It's common here in the south. It was sad to see my young students take up the habit. Telling them of the possible risks didn't deter them. Sad.
    Take care.
    Wit

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  8. hey anon

    thanks for the correction - relied too much on my swedish snuff source - http://www.swedish-snus.com/articles/Swedish%20Snus%20Brands-292/Toque-6731/SHOP-0/

    take care

    nick

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  9. hey wit

    having been a non-smoker all my life, it's hard to imagine the addiction - but the possible outcomes are enough to continue to keep me away from the habit

    i'll have to thank about other vices!!!

    any suggestions?

    take care

    nick

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  10. To add to what Josh said, when I was growing up in the foothills of the Appalachian mountains, it was considered polite (in some circles) to carry around a paper cup into which one could spit, or dribble, the snuff...er juice (?), rather than having to spit on the ground (or porch, if one missed the dirt over the edge of the porch). Ladies often wrapped the paper "snuff cup" in a pretty handkerchief. (Never let it be said we Southerners don't know what good manners are.)

    As far as other (somewhat similar?) vices that might not be quite as visually unaesthetic...what about licking small amounts of cocaine from the head of a rigidly erect male member? If I remember correctly that was most enjoyable to do on the beach--or disco--many years ago.

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  11. hey NY Guy

    very interested to hear bout the southern way with a 'snuff cup' - kinda social history that tends to get lost if we're not careful

    so thanks very much for commenting!

    and the 'other vices' makes us remember a time ... sigh!

    cya

    nick

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  12. My maternal grandma, a stalwart Quebecoise, lived till she was 93. Her scrawney and crippled self was addicted to Copenhagen snuff. She favoured the right nostril, whic often was inflamed. She would offer you une pincee if you asked. Lord knows if she would passed at such a young age had she refrained from using the stuff. It does seem to clear the sinuses though.

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  13. My maternal grandma, a stalwart Quebecoise, lived till she was 93. Her scrawney and crippled self was addicted to Copenhagen snuff. She favoured the right nostril, whic often was inflamed. She would offer you une pincee if you asked. Lord knows if she would passed at such a young age had she refrained from using the stuff. It does seem to clear the sinuses though.

    ReplyDelete
  14. hey anon

    thanks for sharing - just love to hear personal stories like this - makes an issue real and immediate!

    hope to heard from you again

    nick

    ReplyDelete