Alex Massie

Snuff Moves

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My old friend Gerald Warner has, I'm glad to discover, a blog at the Telegraph entitled Is It Just Me? (sometimes, yes, Gerald, I'm afraid it is...). In his most recent post Gerald reports that the health industry has opened a new front in the Tobacco Wars. Not content with persecuting smokers, the unco guid are preparing to take aim at snuff aficionados. Seriously. As Gerald observes, this is no surprise:

Of course, it had to happen. The health fascists, having overrun the cigarette, cigar and pipe-smokers, are now advancing on the snuff-takers. We have been here before. Persecution of snuff-taking began in the early 17th century when Sultan Amurath IV of Turkey made it a capital offence. Shortly afterwards, in 1643, Michael I of Russia, the first Romanov tsar, ordered that people caught taking snuff should have their noses cut off.

I confess, gracious reader, that it is some time since I was a regular snuffer. But back in sunny undergraduate days at Trinity College, Dublin I snuffed with the best of them. Indeed, occasional visits to the university library were only endurable with the the good and gracious assistance of McChrystals excellent snuff... So, here we are: nostrils at the ready and prepared to snuff again to resist the intolerable intolerance of those who would seek to deny us the consolation of the pleasures lady nicotine affords...

Written byAlex Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator. He also writes a column for The Times and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman and other publications.

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