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Is Snuff addictive?

RoderickRoderick Member
edited January 2008 in General
This may not be as stupid a question as it first appears. In the summer of last year, I met a professor of addictions at a British university (better not say which) and he told me he liked to use snuff but he had never found it addictive. I personally think snuff is useful to break the addiction in smokers and chewing tobacco users and can then be picked up and put down at will. What do other people feel, how does snuff help you?


  • TroutstrokerTroutstroker Member
    edited January 2008 PM
    I don't really know if the actual snuff is addictive but rather the habit of using the snuff. I can't say for sure because I've never tried to put it down. I know for sure that I would definitely miss it and would think about it, so I guess thats an addiction. I don't think light users have a problem with this, but when you've been snuffing for so long, putting it down is a problem. And I'm sure there is some sort of nicotine dependency involved. They same way you can get addicted to caffeine!! I'm not ready to put it down anytime soon, so I guess I won't find out.
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  • It contains nicotine. Nicotine is an addictive drug. It's been proven. But, like redfx just mentioned, I use snuff far less than I used to smoke. As a smoker, I'd sometimes light up just because I was bored. Not so much because I needed a fix. If I get bored now, taking a pinch doesn't help much. It certainly doesn't take 5 minutes to sniff a pinch like it does to have that cigarette. And if I knew I was going to soon be in a situation where I couldn't have a cigarette for a while, I'd light up. Even if I'd just had one 10 minutes prior and didn't really want one. With snuff, it's a little different. There are no "snuff free zones". So I don't have to force it on myself to preemptively feed a craving. Yes, I think I'm addicted to snuff. However, I feel far less addicted to snuff than I was to cigarettes.
  • edited January 2008 PM
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  • O.k. it's got nicoteen it's addictive if I don't have it I feel like crap my head hurts my body hurts my mood goes to shit. Though everyone reacts diffrently to addictive substances to some extent or another. I think your professor wouldn't be addicted to any other nicoteen either. I have friends that don't feel cigerattes are really addictive because they have no problem putting them down.
  • I think it all depends on the amount and frequency you use.
  • also your make-up chemicaly. Which is something that addiction researchers know but don't often make overly public (except with alchool for some reason) is that people have diffrent reactions to diffrent things and have much diffrent tendencies to diffrent addictions. Me nicoteen really did hit me as being a very addictive drug almost imediately.
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  • I use snuff all day and all night long... if I am awake, I am taking snuff. So yes it is addictive for me, not AS addictive as cigarettes or chewing tobacco in my opinion, but addictive none the less. Still makes a great hobby too as far as collecting.
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  • I take snuff daily when I am not smoking my pipe or a cigar. Could I give it up? Probably. Would it be difficult? Undoubtably. Therefore I feel it is addictive. I also agree that a person's personality has a lot to do with whether or not they will have difficulties with addictions. Anything can be addictive with the right person.

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  • The reason I asked is that I used to be a 40 a day smoker and I'm not talking lights, I used to smoke cigarettes called Sullivan Powell and then Davidoff, these were strong cigarettes. Yet now I can snuff 5 grams a day, for weeks on end and then put it down for a week with no feelings of addiction, I only miss it because I love it, not because I’m addicted. With cigarettes I couldn’t go an hour after waking without a cigarette and that addiction was physical as well as mental, my body craved the cigarette to such an extent that I would even start sweating if I went a waking hour without; yet with snuff I get none of those painful cravings. I suspect it’s because my tobacco has none of the chemicals ‘Big Tobacco’ pump into their cigarettes.
    Is pure the answer?
    Could any of you, who have stopped smoking, go for a day without snuffing?
  • Well isn't "missing it because you love it" part of an addiction? Daily routines themselves can become addictive and hard to change!
  • Trout, you’re too young to get stuck in routines, but yes, I can see the point. Although my loving it does not cause the same physical problems that cigarettes did.
  • Addiction is definately a complecated thing. I'd say that the chemicals added to cigerattes definately make them more addictive. Some of the chemicals also speed up the exit of the nicoteen which probably makes the withdraw worse. Though my favorite is some cigerattes have chemicals added to them to inhibit the actual pleasure response to increase the chances of a casual smoker (I.e. only when I drink or hangout with friend X) will consume more cigerattes increaseing chances of addiction.
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  • Yeah I know I could go a day with out a pinch but I also know I would be thinking about it the whole time. Like you BrianC, if I get preoccupied with something I don't think about taking a pinch but as soon as I'm done with what I'm doing, you best believe I'm reaching for a pinch. I was watching the DEADWOOD series the other day on DVD and I didn't think about taking a snuff at all while it was playing. But when one episode stopped and I had to click to start the next episode I did take a snuff. Same thing last week when I was running the snowblower. I was out there 1 1/2-2 hours and didn't think about it till I was done. But this is the same way it was when I was heavily addicted to Cope. When I got preoccupied with something, I didn't think about a dip.. My friend on the other hand had to sleep with a dip in his mouth. He would even eat with a dip in..... Awful!! LOL
  • I'm with Roderick and Brian C on this one. The cigarettes are a horrible addiction that really owns you. Even when you hate them you keep on smoking them. And your actions are like an addict, you'll walk out on anyone at anytime for the chance to have one. Take an escape from your kids events or other important events for a quick one. I notice this even more now that I don't smoke cigarettes. The other day we had some family together at a nice restaurant to eat and a few of the smokers left between the salad and the main course to go out and smoke, I thought at that moment that it would be nice to take a pinch, but wouldn't have there at the table in this company, and certainly didn't want it enough to walk out in the cold with the smokers, and was more than content to wait until I was driving home to have some. I say it is all about whatever chemicals are added to the cigs. When I was a smoker I could be smoking a big fat cigar and have to have a cigarette half way through.
  • TroutstrokerTroutstroker Member
    edited January 2008 PM
    Yeah I am glad I never started smoking cigs! That all goes back to High School. No one in the groups I hung out with smoked. They either snuffed or chewed or nothing at all. And my parents never smoked. My dad does smoke a pipe on occasion. It is kind of second nature though for a kid growing up with parents who smoke or dip or drink to start the habit themselves. Not every kid but most.

    As bad as I was addicted to Cope, usually 1-1 1/2 cans a day, one day I don't know how but I totally lost the urge to dip. Didn't even crave it. It was literally within the day. I woke up & took a dip & by noon I took the can out of my pocket, took the lid off and just looked at it. The crave wasn't there and didn't want any. My friends where all wondering how I quit so fast and didn't even crave it. I couldn't tell them how because I didn't know. That was back in 02. But now I do enjoy an occasional dip or some loose leaf.
  • there is a swedish or german study out about snuff (not snus) i read a while back that said that while snuff is just as addictive as anything else that contains nicotine it is 4 times easier to give up than cigarettes but heavy users are 4 times less likely to want to to give up than heavy smokers. They reckoned that was because you got all the nicotine pleasure with none of the social stigma. So there you go. Fact is, nicotine is a very addictive drug. what. (IMHO)
  • I was thinking about this the other day. I noticed that the nicoteen peak from snuff seems to drop very quickly, at the same time for how long the peak last it feels as if the lower level seems to disapate slower then other forms of nicoteen. Maybe the come down is much much slower once the peak is past. Just a thought, anyone know anything about the minutae of nicoteen dispersion from diffrent intacke methods?
  • Here you go. This is from a Lancet article.

    M. A. H. RUSSELL

    M. J. JARVIS


    Addiction Research Unit, Institute of Psychiatry, London; and Poisons Unit, New Cross Hospital, London.


    Blood-nicotine levels were measured during non-inhaled cigar smoking and after taking snuff. The rate of nicotine absorption from non-inhaled cigar smoking was slow. This may explain why many cigarette smokers continue to inhale when they switch to cigars. In contrast, the rate of absorption from snuff was extremely rapid. Peak levels which matched those of cigarette smoking were reached within 5 min. Snuff could be an acceptable and less harmful substitute for cigarette smoking.


    TOBACCO is the only source of nicotine. For four centuries or more it has been used for chewing, snuffing, or smoking, but no population has given up one form of tobacco use without replacing it with another. The only time the British gave up smoking was in the 18th century, when they switched to snuffing for almost a hundred years. The common factor is nicotine. There is no tar or carbon monoxide without combustion. Nicotine is absorbed through the lungs in cigarette smoking, through the buccal mucosa in tobacco chewing, and through the nasal mucosa in snuffing.
    The campaign to eliminate cigarette smoking is proving slow and tedious, and even one doctor in five still smokes cigarettes. 1 Therefore the prospects of abolishing the habit in the rest of the population seem remote. Low-tar cigarettes do not seem acceptable to most smokers, probably because they deliver insufficient nicotine. Also, smokers tend to offset the health advantages by inhaling them more deeply. Similarly, when cigarette smokers switch to cigars or a pipe the health advantage is lost since they usually continue to inhale.2, 3 This is probably because without inhalationthe absorption of nicotine is too slow and inefficient to provide an adequate substitute for inhaled cigarette smoking. 3,4
    What about snuff? Would it be a satisfactory alternative for dependent cigarette smokers? Snuffing is simply a matter of inserting powdered tobacco into the nose, and thus has two major advantages. Firstly, there are no products of combustion such as tar, carbon monoxide, and oxides of nitrogen. Secondly, it cannot be inhaled into the lungs, which eliminates any risk of lung cancer, which kills almost 30,000 British smokers a year. Would snuff provide enough nicotine to satisfy the dependent cigarette smoker? The historical evidence suggests that it could. Although its use in Britain has gradually declined since the 1939-1945 war from 1.2 million lb in 1944, to 0.5 million lb in 1964, and to 0.3 million lb in 1977,5 there are about 500,000 regular snuff users in Britain today. 6 We are studying the absorption of nicotine by cigar smokers and snuff users. Preliminary findings presented here show that the absorption of nicotine from snuff is very rapid; snuff could be sufficiently satisfying for cigarette smokers to switch to snuffing relatively easily.


    We measured blood-nicotine and blood-carboxyhæmoglobin (COHb) in cigar smokers and in snuff users. The snuffers used their own brand of snuff in their usual way. The cigar (Medallion Petit Corona, a Havana tobacco cigar, length 12.3 cm, circumference 5.4 cm, weight 6.2 g) was smoked in an unnatural way designed to avoid any inhalation and to maximise buccal absorption. This consisted of puffing and then holding the smoke in the mouth for about 45-60 sec, while breathing through the nose so as to avoid inhaling it. This was repeated as often as possible for 60 min, by which time the cigar had been smoked to a butt length of about 2.0-2.5 cm. Blood-samples were taken from a forearm vein via an indwelling catheter. COHb levels were measured with an IL.182CO-oximeter7 and plasma-nicotine by gas chromatography. 8


    Even with this form of non-inhaled cigar smoking, nicotine absorption was initially very slow, although absorption rate gradually increased as the cigar was smoked. For example, in one cigar experiment, the blood-nicotine increased by 16.5 ng/ml: only 8.5% of the increase was in the first 20 min, compared with 20.6% from 20 to 40 min, 49.1% from 40 to 60 min, and 21.8% in the 5 min after the cigar was discarded (see accompanying figure). [Sorry, figure not included. - Robert] The pH of this subject's saliva increased from 6.0 to 6.5 as the cigar was smoked.
    By contrast the absorption from a single pinch of snuff was extremely rapid. The blood-nicotine level increased 21.1 ng/ml in 5 min, compared with the increase of only 0.9 ng/ml after 15 min cigar smoking. The increase within 5 min of taking snuff was 28% greater than that achieved by cigar smoking in 65 min.
    [This is where the accompanying figure was included in the original article. - Robert]


    The results show two important findings. Firstly, buccal absorption of nicotine is slow even when a large Havana-type cigar is smoked in an unnatural way designed to maximise non-inhaled absorption. Although sufficient nicotine is absorbed to have pharmacological effects (which no doubt contribute to the satisfaction obtained by so-called primary cigar smokers who have never smoked cigarettes and who tend not to inhale)3 the absorption rate is very much slower than that in inhaled cigarette smoking.9-11 This may be why so few cigarette smokers can switch to cigars without inhaling them.
    Secondly the rate of nicotine absorption from snuff is very rapid. The blood-nicotine level of over 40 ng/ml matches the peak levels found in heavy cigarette smokers, which average about 35 ng/ml.12 Although the snuff user does not get the puff-by-puff high nicotine boli obtained by inhaling cigarette smokers,13 it takes the cigarette smoker about 10 min to reach a peak nicotine level compared with 5 min or less for a snuff user.
    Snuff may well be a satisfactory and acceptable substitute for cigarette smoking. In addition to its capacity to deliver nicotine, snuff could provide many other components of the smoking habit, such as a variety of aromas, attractive packaging, and intricate sensorimotor rituals which add to the pleasure and social aspects of the habit. Furthermore, it is likely to be acceptable to all social classes, since its present limited use ranges from velvet-curtained lounges to the depths of coal mines.
    Switching from cigarettes to snuff could have enormous health benefits. Although some problems could arise from continued absorption of nicotine and local nasal irritation in heavy users, the absence of tar and gases such as carbon monoxide, oxides of nitrogen, and many other toxic combustion products, would virtually eliminate smoking-related cancer, bronchitis, and possibly heart disease. Also, snuff does not contaminate the atmosphere for non-users.
    Our findings suggest that a new age for snuff is a feasible alternative to cigarette smoking. Snuff could save more lives and avoid more ill-health than any other preventive measure likely to be available to developed nations well into the 21st century.

    We thank our colleagues, Dr S. Sutton and Mr M. Raw, for their helpful comments, and Jean Crutch for secretarial assistance. Dr P. V. Cole and Mr Y. Saloojee, St. Bartholomew's Hospital, London, measured the COHb levels. Financial support was provided by the Medical Research Council.

    Requests for reprints should be addressed to M.A.H.R., Institute of Psychiatry, Addiction Research Unit, 101 Denmark Hill, London SE56AF.


    1. Doll R., Peto R. Mortality in relation to smoking:twenty years' observations on British doctors. Br Med J 1976; iv: 1525-36. --return--
    2. Cowie JR, Sillett RW, Ball KP. Carbon-monoxide absorption by cigarette smokers who change to smoking cigars. Lancet 1973;i:1033-35. --return--
    3. Turner JAM, Sillet RW, McNichol MW. Effect of cigar smoking on caboxyhæmoglobin and plasma nicotine concentrations in primary pipe and cigar smokers and ex-cigarette smokers. Br Med J 1977;ii:1387-89. --return--
    4. Armitage A, Dollery C, Houseman T, Kohner R, Lewis PJ, Turner D. Absorption of nicotine from small cigars. Clin Pharmacol Ther 1978;23:143-51. --return--
    5. Lee PN, ed. Statistics of smoking in the United Kingdom. Research Paper 1, 7th edn and Suppl. London Tobacco Research Council, 1976. --return--
    6. Roberts S. The techniques and the statistics of snuff selling in 1979. Tobacco 1979;1182:9-15 --return--
    7. Russell MAH, Cole PV, Brown E. Absorption by non-smokers of carbon monoxide from room-air polluted by tobacco smoke. Lancet 1973; i:576-79. --return--
    8. Feyerabend C, Russell MAH. Improved gas-chromatographic method and micro-extraction technique for the measurement of nicotine in biological fluids. J Pharm Pharmacol 1979;31: 73-76. --return--
    9. Isaac PF, Rand MJ. Cigarette smoking and plasma levels of nicotine. Nature 1972;236: 308-10. --return--
    10. Russell MAH,Feyerabend C. Plasma nicotine levels after cigarette smoking and chewing nicotine gum. Br Med J 1976; i: 1043-46. --return--
    11. Armitage AK, Dollery CT, George CF, Houseman TH, Lewis PJ, Turner DM. Absorption and metabolism of nicotine from cigarettes. Br Med J 1975; iv: 313-16. --return--
    12. Russell MAH, Raw M, Taylor C, Feyerabend C, Saloojee Y. Blood nicotine and carboxyhæmoglobin levels after rapid-smoking aversion therapy. J Consult Clin Psychol 1978;46: 1423-31. --return--
    13. Russell MAH, Feyerabend C. Cigarette smoking: a dependence on high-nicotine boli. Drug Metab.Rev 1978; 8: 29-57.--return--

    This article originally appeared in The Lancet, March 1, 1980,pp 474-5, and was copied out for the benefit of members of the Yahoo [nasal] snuff group by Robert.
  • I think it is addictive, but not in the way dip and cig's are. I mean with dip and cigarette I craved them constantly when I did not have them but snuff seems to be more pleasant towards you when you cannot satisfy your hunger for it. I do not know much about snuff other than the fact that I enjoy it, but maybe it is because taking snuff doesn't give you the buzz and everything that smoking a lucky or dipping some cope or grizzly does. In my experiences with snuff it does not seem to be as in your faces as a lip of grizz or anything and is a lot more easy going. I do not really know where I am going with this anymore lol, but hey...
  • The only time I really hate my addiction is when I'm jonesing hard, and staring at a drawer full of snuff and can't decide which one I want.

    This happens several times a day.
  • " Is Snuff addictive?" To answer your question Roderick. It must be, because it says so on your tins :-)
  • AbraxasAbraxas Member
    edited September 2010 PM
    Its addictive alright, but addiction is not the problem. Addiction is simply need and need does not equate of itself to something bad, eg tea and coffee drinkers are often addicted. Addiction is probably a range of factors rather than a simple pharmacological one. I too was a heavy smoker and have successfully swapped addictions from smoked tobacco to snuff; I still regard myself as heavily addicted to nicotine but the interesteing thing for me is that if I forget to take my snuff box out to work or wherever and am unable to get snuff, then I deal with that far better than when circumstances stopped me smoking - such as a long flight. I think that cigarette smoking is a far more ferocious addiction and there may even be other agents in tobacco smoke that are in themselves addictive and so compound withdrawal from cigarette smoke.

    I also recognise that I am addicted to tobacco as well as the nicotine in it. Even as a kid I used to love the smell - maybe some of us are just born users.
  • I'am addicted for sure. And if I don't get my snuff I get really grumpy just like I did with cigarettes for some reason it sometimes takes longer to effect me that way. I don't know why sometimes a few minutes after it wears off I feel grumpy sometimes I'll go hours with no problem.
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