Smoking and Snuff

The use of cigarettes, cigars, and snuff (finely ground tobacco snorted up the nose) was very common in the early nineteenth century, especially amongst wealthy men, though some considered the smell distasteful and bad for one’s health.

It was considered unsuitable for women to use these products, with the exception perhaps being women in the aristocracy who had a taste for flamboyant and decadent living; though still slightly unseemly, especially for a middle-class reader, aristocratic women using tobacco was a sign of freedom from convention.

“Mode I le femmes”.  Charivari, 1839.

“Mode I le femmes”.
Charivari, 1839.

  • “The use of cigars has come in since my time (and, I must own, is adopted by many people of the first fashion)” (Sketches and Travels in London 208).
  • “If your hair or clothes do not smell of tobacco, as they sometimes, it must be confessed, do, you will not be less popular among ladies . . . if you must smoke, smoke in an old coat, and away from the ladies” (Sketches and Travels in London 215).
  • “I vow and believe that the cigar has been one of the greatest creature-comforts of my life – a kind companion, a gentle stimulant, an amiable anodyne, a cementer of friendship. May I die if I abuse that kindly weed which has given me so much pleasure!” (Sketches and Travels in London 243).
  • “He had become enamoured of Miss Lucy Grey by seeing her smoke a cigar, and by hearing her declare, she would be hanged if she hadn’t another” (Finesse 1:203).
  • “a squire, who has ridden five miles for an appetite, may lose all the fruits of his labour by his unpleasant vicinity to a cigar-fancier” (At Home 2:22).
  • “’His Highness, a first-rate diplomatist . . . and his consort, with a countenance like Cleopatra, and a tiara like a constellation, [was] famed alike for her shawls and her snuff” (The Young Duke 1:31).
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