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Thursday, 9 April 2020

The joys of snuff

With that title, I expect for some time we'll get disappointed google searchers hitting this page; internet users are a weird lot. An old post about taxpayer-funded elective cosmetic surgery entitled "Poor women with large tattooed breasts" consistently scored the highest hits ranking of any page on the blog. So to clarify for any puzzled visitors, this post is about powdered cured tobacco.

I took a complete break from smoking about seven or eight years ago and have never craved one since. Physically. Not smoking takes no effort at all, but Oh how I regret having foregone the pleasure of smoking; I loved smoking. Really enjoyed it. If I live to 75, I'm going to start again. Before the smoking ban here this year, I loved to spend an hour or two in the local Gasthaus just for the smell of the dense clouds of cigarette smoke around the bar, a delicious fragrancing of my clothes that I would sniff nostalgically for the rest of the day. Well, Nicotine has been a good friend to me since I was 15, with me at all the big moments in life. So when I took a break from fags, I switched to snuff. Made in an old English snuff mill, a Northern one, that cures and grinds Virginia tobacco.

It's not some eccentricity for public showing-away but a connection with a lifelong physiological partnership. The Nicotine is just a fraction of that from smoking, the dopamine effect imperceptible but the connection remains. With the benefit that one can take snuff when seated on an aircraft, at a restaurant table, in a bar. It confuses the bansturbators - nobody has told them to ban snuff. And sales are so inconsequential that HM Treasury can hardly be bothered to tax it - a 25g tin costs about £2.80 and lasts about a month.

There's only one drawback. As a seasoned snuffer, my sneeze reaction is pretty well under control; one intakes snuff like sniffing a flower, not snorting coke. One of my few pleasures in life is agreeing to let coke-heads take a pinch; inevitably they suck it straight into the upper septum where it takes about a second before leaving them in tear-streaming agony, puce-faced and contorted with pain. But sometimes - when out walking, when in the supermarket - the residual snuff induces a sneeze. No problem, as I always have a snuff-kerchief to hand.

But boy. The looks of fear and horror from anyone within ten metres. A couple of times I've done that little pantomimey thing of shaking the head and waving the hand 'no', though I don't think they were convinced. 

Snuff mills with parts dating to the 18th century still grind exceeding fine in English factories


Wildgoose said...

A drinking buddy from when I was working & staying in the West Midlands (Walsall) used snuff. He had quite a selection, I remember him using some manufactured in Sharrow, Sheffield - and discovered that we were famous for it, something I'd never known.

Span Ows said...

Sneezing isn't really part of this current visus' symptoms but anyone sneezing is galred at. That said, I have always tried to avoid sneezers because having seen the cloud of droplets (invisble usualy to the naked eye...sometimes NOT!) it disgusts me. Especially on panes! The 'coughs and sneezes spread diseases' gov health propaganda was and is so true.

I partook of snuff for a while in the early eighties, it went through an "in" phase, nt sure whether this was local, regionl, national or international. I was in Berkshire at the time.

Span Ows said...

panes = planes! Aeroplanes for the avoidance of doubt :-)

Tcheuchter said...

My father used to give up smoking his pipe during Lent and would take snuff as a substitute though I'm not sure if that didn't cancel out the virtue of the self-denial. It displeased my mother for in those days the old man used white cotton handkerchiefs and it fell to her to collect them and wash them.

Dave_G said...

Never understood the attraction of tobacco in whatever form it is taken and only ever considered it as a demonstration of physical weakness in the way coke users are drawn in to the 'scene'. Each to their own of course and I've never agreed with the smoking ban either - occasionally following a public smoker (very rare these days) to get a whiff of the somewhat pleasant smell. But, then again, I visit the local salmon smoker for the same reasons!

As a reminder of the erosion of public freedoms and social manipulation of opinion I see exactly where you're coming from and enjoyed your line of thought/reasoning.

Arkus said...

Hey Span Ows, I was living in Sydney, Australia in the early 80's and snuff had a brief "in phase" there back then too. Only low level but it was there. So guess it may have been a bit international. Have barely seen it since.

Billy Marlene said...

My last experience was as Ensign of the Queen’s Guard at St James’ Palace back in 1976.

The snuff box, passed around the table, was a silver tub within a horses hoof. The lid was engraved with ‘This snuff box is fashioned from the left fore hoof of Marengo, Napoleon’s Charger at the Battle of Waterloo’.

Or summat like that.

Anonymous said...

As I recall snuff had a revival amongst the youth in the early seventies. God knows why but I distinctly remember lads using it around '71 to '73. My brother had a tin of menthol snuff to clear his sinuses. Related does anyone remember the smell of burning briar? Wonderful.


DiscoveredJoys said...

Tales of smells gone by...

My mother used to take me down to the gas works, where they made town gas from coal, so that the smells of tar and creosote would clear 'my chest'. Similarly the local Steam Railway charity still runs steam trains... and you get that steam and smoke smell when the trains arrive and depart.

Apparently particular smells last a long time in your memory.