Snuff Soc, Snuff Appreciation Society and Snuff Stop Bus Stop are just a handful of the Facebook groups dedicated to the phenomenon of powdered tobacco. And all these groups have one thing in common: they were all created on the Uni. Nottingham network.
When I asked friends at other universities if they too had perfected the art of dodging drunk people waving small, shiny pots of McChrystal’s, attempting to stuff your nostrils full of sneeze inducing dust, their blank faces presented me with my answer. It seems that Snuff is a growing trend that is specific to our own classy and beautiful university.
After all, it’s not unusual to find a mass of people in Oceana or Isis crowding around to snort Snuff from various parts of the anatomy. It’s always worth watching Snuff lovers creating a line the entire length of someone’s arm and watching the victim’s face contort as he or she struggles with the task at hand. Alternatively, grabbing a skinhead and using his baldness as their blank canvas for a Snuff work of art, or even creating a Snuff penis-haven for a spot of homoerotic tobacco inhalation.
Nevertheless, Snuff was not always a play-thing for students on messy nights out and sports teams inflicting punishments on individuals who fail to meet their demands. It can apparently be dated back to Columbus’ second expedition to America in the fifteenth century. But it was not until the eighteenth century that snuff became popular, with the introduction of Snuff parlours, and the Snuff-box becoming a must-have fashion accessory. The twentieth century saw the decline of its popularity due to the growing status of smoking cigarettes. Conversely, experts are predicting a rise in the number of Snuff-takers in the near future in an attempt to quit smoking and as a result of the recent smoking bans.
However, the student obsession with Snuff seems to be unrelated to the smoking bans of 2007. Instead, it is a toy, with which to create a cheaper, yet equally messy night out!
A friend of mine burst into our Lenton house a few months ago, his face lit up like a child at Christmas and his arms full of his new snuff purchases. He proceeded to lay out his new toys on our table, with a running commentary explaining each one. The table of delights included a Snuff snorter, to ensure less mess during the snorting process, i.e. to prevent him looking like he’d just face-planted into a bowl of brown powder. He’d also managed to track down bizarre flavoured snuff on the internet and had purchased it in industrial sized quantities. From the regular hint-of-mint varieties to the more obscure Champagne and Christmas Pudding flavours. He has since explained to me that the key lies in creativity; Snuff Straws, Equalizing and the ominously named ‘Snuff Accelerator’ are all techniques to enhance the hours of fun this trend can provide.
Many people consider Snuff a safer alternative to cigarettes, as it does not involve inhaling tar and harmful gases such as carbon monoxide. It also has no link to lung cancer, emphysema and bronchitis as it is not inhaled into the lungs. However, unfortunately there are risks involved with long term use, other than the familiar ‘snogies’, which line the nostrils after a snuff binge.
Experts warn of a risk of cancer of the oral cavity although the threat is minor. It seems users of dry Snuff are at risk of more general, but less serious, nasal damage. Various studies have been conducted investigating these risks and results have shown that long- term Snuff users complain of nasal discharge, swelling and permanently blocked and stuffy noses, a condition known as Chronic Rhinitis.
So I’m taking it upon myself to issue a warning to all Nottingham university undergraduates that if this snuff obsession extends beyond our student years we will be a generation subject to permanently snotty, dribbly and unattractive swollen noses.