Aside from using an electronic cigarette, we all know that smoking is the most commonly used way to get a nicotine fix. But have you ever wondered about how else people use tobacco? Here’s a list of some of the oddest ways people have used tobacco around the globe and throughout history.
Relief from Bee and Wasp Stings – Apparently, some time ago, someone got stung by a bee or a yellow jacket and thought, “Ouch! That really hurts…I know! I’ll stick my cigarette on it.” The fact is there are a lot of people out there that swear up and down that you can take the burn of an insect’s sting away by applying wet tobacco to the affected area.
The nicotine is supposed to act as an anaesthetic that dulls the pain (though you’d probably need to be careful to avoid shoving the stinger farther into your skin). Despite many fervent claims of efficacy and promises that this is totally safe, we’re going to go ahead and say that smothering a fresh insect sting in wet cigarette juice probably isn’t physician recommended.
Also, as if this needs to be said, never ever touch the end of a lit cigarette to any part of your body. It will most definitely sting more if you do that.
Eastern Woodland Indian Rituals – Long before the country we call America saw its first English settler in 1585, the diverse, forest-dwelling Eastern Woodland Indian culture had already discovered many uses for tobacco. The Cherokee and Iroquois, the two most well-known tribes within the culture, believed that tobacco was a dedicated gift to their people bestowed upon them by the Great Spirit, Wenebojo, who was the grandson of the Earth Herself.
For this reason (and probably because nicotine was a novel and mystical thing), dried tobacco was an integral component in nearly every religious ceremony and sacred ritual. If medicinal berries or bark were harvested from a particular tree or shrub, a pinch of dry tobacco was left behind at the site as an offering of thanks.
The same was done after a big kill and before the feast that followed. Before a long trip or hunt, the men would smoke the dry leaves before embarking on their journey to ensure safe passage. Peace treaties between warring groups were sealed with the sharing of a pipe. Above anything else, though, tobacco was offered to the spirits before any type of religious ritual was ever performed, such was its importance.
Looking at how cigarettes are regarded today and how carelessly spent butts are tossed to the ground wherever you go, one has to wonder… What Would Wenebojo Do?
Tobacco as an Insecticide – Considering how much we know about the ways that tobacco can harm the human body over time, it does seem to follow that it’s been proven to kill lots of pesky garden bugs as well.
A single cup of dried tobacco leaves steeped in a gallon of water can kill a variety of herbivorous pests in a matter of minutes. The longer the leaves are left to steep, the more potent the poison is to the beetles, slugs and other critters eating through your lettuce and tomato plants.
Careful, though: the toxins in your mix can be just as dangerous to beneficial bugs like butterflies and bees that help your garden flourish, so choose your spraying time carefully.
Snuffing – Often mistaken for “snorting” tobacco, snuffing involves lightly sniffing up a small bit of dried, finely pulverized tobacco leaves into the nostril, one side at a time. The tobacco should never be snorted so vigorously that any enters the sinuses or throat, as this can lead to some very uncomfortable side effects within seconds and increased health risks.
Originating in 18th century England, this method is intended to produce a rapid, intense hit, more of a head buzz than smoking and a pleasant odour within the nose. The downside? Bits of sticky brown gunk around your nose holes. Just saying.
Note: Though widely accepted as a safer way to consume tobacco than smoking cigarettes, snuffing is still incredibly dangerous and can still lead to cancer. But you could look at it this way: users who just can’t give up tobacco do get a choice…Cancer in my lungs or cancer in my nose? Decisions, decisions…
And Along Came an E Cig…
Like any other newfangled technology of its age, the electronic cigarette has faced some pretty rough opposition from people and organisations who don’t yet understand the product itself. That’s all right, though, because as with the bizarre tobacco uses we’ve described here, the e cig is different and things that are different take some time getting used to.
Have you ever wondered, for example, whose brilliant idea it was to stick dried, smelly tobacco powder up their nose the first time? Or even to smoke it, for that matter? “Let’s light these leaves on fire and breathe in the smoke, just to find out what happens. What do you mean, ‘what if it’s bad for us?’” No, the idea of a smokeless cigarette doesn’t seem so bizarre or unapproachable when you look at it that way.
If it takes some time for the general public to become acclimated to the idea, so be it. The new, improved and clearly superior way to enjoy nicotine is definitely here to stay.