The History of Dipping Tobacco
Chewing tobacco spans traditional practices and carries with it a storied past that spans centuries. This guide to the history of chewing tobacco embarks on a journey across the timeline of chewing tobacco, delving into its unique history and origins. From its beginnings in the noble courts abroad to its widespread popularity in the U.S., we explore its origins (as we did in our guide to the history of chewing tobacco), the notable brands, and the cultural impact of dipping tobacco in the U.S.
An Overview of the History of Dipping Tobacco
Dip tobacco, also known as moist snuff or simply dip, has a rich history rooted that dates back centuries. Here is a rough overview of the history of dip tobacco and its roots.
Nasal Snuff in France During the 1500s
A French ambassador named Jean Nicot came across tobacco plants and Lisbon, and brought them home to Paris. In the 1560’s, upon discovering Queen Catherine de Medici of France was suffering from migraines, he told her to crush up the dried tobacco leaves and inhale them. Her headaches seemed to be miraculously cured due to this, and this new form of tobacco consumption began making its rounds through the French nobility circles - this was the start of the growth of nasal snuff.
From Snuff in France to Snus in Sweden during the 1700s and 1800s
Using nasal snuff spread through the royal courts and made its way abroad to Sweden, and was very popular amongst the upper class and aristocracy of Sweden. The containers that it was commonly packaged in were beautiful, and often gilded (quite different to the cans you find today). Towards the end of the 1700s, tobacco was being grown in over 70 towns across Sweden. Around this time, towards the end of the 1700’s and start of the early 1800’s, a change occurred. Swedish consumers began placing a pinch of tobacco under the upper lip. This could be, for all intents and purposes, the beginning of oral tobacco consumption.
Importing Oral Tobacco from Sweden to the U.S. with Mass Swedish Migration in the 1800s
The 1800’s and 1900’s saw a large number of Swedes emigrating to the United States. There were a lot of factors involved, including religious, agricultural, economic, and social. The Swedes valued the concept of the growing rural American landscape, particularly with its agricultural potential. It goes without saying that the Swedes coming across to America would carry their traditions with them, one of which being snus (an oral tobacco product). In Swedish and American districts and areas, snus usage was so common that Americans would call these areas “snus boulevards”. It was a point of pride for early Swedish-Americans, and a part of their identity in this new land.
In the United States, tobacco consumption was a national pastime. Prior to the Swedish immigration, nasal snuff was also quite popular, as it was in Europe. However, during this migration was when dipping tobacco was invented.
The “dipping tobacco” phrase originates from a practice early Americans had. They would chew the end of a stick until it looks somewhat bristly, and then dip the twig into a container of nasal snuff. From there, the nasal snuff would be, again, dipped into their mouth and enjoyed until it dissolved. This practice would continue to evolve as oral tobacco consumption methods began to circulate and increase in popularity.
The Invention of Dipping Tobacco in the Early 1800s
The first dipping tobacco introduced in the United States was Copenhagen, introduced in 1822. This is also the same year Sweden’s oldest snus, Ettan, was introduced in Sweden. Copenhagen was also based on an old Swedish Snus recipe. A company in New Jersey was importing Swedish brands into the US, much to the joy of Swedish immigrants, but this would eventually cease as US tobacco companies saw this encroaching on their market share. These companies would begin creating their own blends, flavors, and brands. Some originate from Swedish recipes but were evolving more to fit the US consumer. The US tobacco scene would grow and evolve, with brands originating in the United States and serving as part of the identity of the American moist snuff consumer.
Snuff Tobacco and Dip Tobacco in the USA Today
Today, dipping tobacco is most popular in the southern United States and in more rural areas. While a few snus brands are available in the United States, American moist snuff remains the most popular form of smokeless tobacco usage in the United States.
The full history of dip tobacco showcases its deep cultural significance and maintained popularity among tobacco users in the United States. From its humble origins to the present-day industry, dip tobacco remains a prominent part of American tobacco heritage.
Snuff Tobacco Brands
Throughout the years, dip tobacco has evolved in terms of manufacturing processes, flavor options, and packaging formats. Today, several prominent brands dominate the dipping tobacco market, offering a wide range of flavors and styles to cater to different preferences.
In the United States, there are several longstanding and well-known dip and snuff tobacco brands that have stood the test of time. Among the oldest dip tobacco brands is Copenhagen, which was first introduced in 1822. Over time, more popular dip tobacco brands such as Skoal, Grizzly and Stoker’s have entered the market - each offering new ranges and developed products to suit the average American dip tobacco user.
Top Dip Tobacco Products in the U.S. (2023)
In recent years, the landscape of dip tobacco in the United States has evolved to meet the changing preferences of chewing tobacco users. While the older dip tobacco brands (like Copenhagen) continue to hold their place in the market, newer brands and offerings have also emerged to give more options to dippers in the U.S. But out of the hundreds of dip products available, which are the top dip products according to Northerner dip tobacco users? Here are the 5 top dip products of 2023:
Buying Dipping Tobacco in the U.S.
On Northerner, you can buy dip tobacco online with fast shipping options. Order your favorite products from top brands, such as Skoal and Copenhagen, and get your order dispatched from one of our U.S. warehouses straight to your home with fast shipping options.
NOTE: You can only buy tobacco products (like snuff and dip) online in the U.S. if you are 21 years of age or older. However, there are some local and state restrictions on the sale of smokeless tobacco. It is important to note that all Smokeless Tobacco is shipped requiring an adult signature upon delivery, no matter which state you are ordering to.
Want to see if Northerner ships to your state? Check out our dedicated shipping info page.