1877 | London

Twelve-Step Program

The proper way to use a snuffbox.

The true artistic method of “taking a pinch” consists of twelve operations:

1. Take the snuffbox with your right hand.

2. Pass the snuffbox to your left hand.

3. Rap the snuffbox.

4. Open the snuffbox.

5. Present the box to the company.

6. Receive it after going the round.

7. Gather up the snuff in the box by striking the side with the middle- and forefinger.

8. Take up a pinch with the right hand.

9. Keep the snuff a moment or two between the fingers before carrying it to the nose.

10. Put the snuff to your nose.

11. Sniff it with precision by both nostrils, and without any grimace.

12. Shut the snuffbox; sneeze, spit, and wipe your nose.

About This Text

From The Smoker’s Guide. The title page of this book contains the subtitle “What to Smoke, What to Smoke with, and the Whole ‘What’s What’ of Tobacco,” ascribes authorship to “A Veteran of Smokedom,” and gives the unsourced epigraph, “What land on earth not fill’d with our smoke?” The word “snuff” to refer to powdered tobacco comes from the Dutch “snuiftabak,” which joins the words for “sniff” and “tobacco.” The practice of taking snuff was popular in England by 1700; snuffboxes were made out of materials ranging from wood to ivory.