Monday, 23 September 2013 01:34

Of Snus, Pipes, and Hookah - a tobacco adventure!

Written by Catherine DeMarsh-Hellwig
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Never let it be said I have ever met a stranger.  New people or strangers are friends I have just not met yet.

A couple of weekends ago my husband dragged me to a pipe show along with our friend Chris. Yeah every now and then, once in a blue moon, I have been known to smoke a pipe. So sue me.

Sometimes on an overnight fishing trip… while I am standing there on the bank, just as the sun just breaks the hill on the far side, steam levitating off the lake and rising to greet the new day… campfire crackling behind me,
soft and smoky like the tasty smoke from my pipe swirling up around my head.

As I lay out other cast across the surface of the then still lake; hoping to drop my lure in that big bass’s mouth merely under the log slightly out of reach from the shore.

As much as I love my snus there is nothing like a good pipe in your teeth in the early morning on the bank of your favorite fishing hole while you try to get that one last cast in before you have to pack up and call it done. I am sure you fishermen know what I am talking about.

Snus Evangelism at the Pipe Show

Our favorite pipe and tobacco store here in Columbus, Smokers Haven, was having a get together at the store.  It was sort of a kick off to the Annual Pipe Show held at one of the local hotels in Dublin, Ohio, and home of the great
Muirfield golf course, co-designed by the great Jack Nicklaus. We arrived about mid-way through the party.

As Mick made his way around the room talking to the “boys” about his latest greatest pipe find, I found a chair in the lounge area where the jazz band was setting up. I made myself comfortable… glasses; check.  Book;
check.  Snus; check.  Cards; check.  Favorite pipe; check!   

Now I was ready for a long evening of what I considered a lonely night as the boys would now forget I was there until they needed me to watch after something or introduce me as the wonderful, dutiful, wife that loves him enough to put up with his obsessions. (Not that many of them are not also MY obsessions.)

A few minutes later Mick came over and introduced a Sales Rep from the Missouri Meerschaum Corncob Pipe Company.  She said she had never met a lady who smoked a pipe before.

Mick smiled and tells her, “Yeah, she is crazy like that, and one of the reasons I love her.” then walks away.

I told her I also use Swedish Snus and how it had helped Mick to quit cigarettes.   I showed her a couple of cans I had brought with me. She said she didn’t smoke but that she had a couple of daughters who might be interested in the idea of it.

After she went back to her booth, I settled back into my chair and I started to listen to the conversations around me while I found where I left off in my book.

One of the first conversations I overheard was a nice young man who mentioned he was a professor on three of our local college campuses, two of which are or going smoke free. So not really knowing a stranger I said, “I am sorry. I don’t mean to be eavesdropping but may I ask what you teach and where?”

That was enough to start the conversation which I quickly turned towards snus.  Unlike my husband, I'm still a dual user but I snus when I can’t smoke.  I knew all three campuses and their hate or indifference to tobacco use. Two of which I had attended and the third I had grown up running around as a child.

I had brought with me the new Nick and Johnny Captain Yankee Xtra Strong Americana snus, and the Lab Fresh Mint Slim White portion snus for my own personal use but also to share if I found someone who really wanted to try them.

We talked for a while about the craziness of the anti-tobacco extremists who wanted to take our tobacco freedoms away and after a while offered him my card from and a couple of samples.  Several others had been listening in to our conversation received cards and sample as well.   

As the evening wore on into the night I gradually ran out of the stack of cards I had brought.  I spoke about snus and how it was a fun, quiet way to flip the bird to those “No tobacco signs” around campus....and keep from having a nicotine fit during an exam.

By the end of the night I had made good friends with the professor, an RA and senior working on his senior thesis, a young local college student just trying to figure out which end was up, a couple of their friends, a few pipe reps and several other people at the party.

One of the greatest things of the night was, after trying a portion of my Swedish Match Lab Fresh Mint Slim White, the young college student pulled out his tin of RJR Camel SNUS and threw it away. He said the new Swedish
Match stuff was “SOOOO MUCH BETTER…”.  I smiled and said “Welcome to REAL Snus.”

Hookah me this....

After the party we were invited by the professor and his friends to try something called Hookah. Now I am not sure how much you know about these things, as before that night I found out I really knew little to nothing of it.
I had heard of it but never really understood it.

Hookah had always seemed more of a cultural thing than a tobacco thing to me.  I would like to say here and now to my new friends, thank you for introducing me to it. Not that I will be running out to the Hookah bars now every night but I understood the attraction.  It was more than the hookah; it was the conversation and relaxed time which makes for an enjoyable total experience.

Of Tobacco and Government....

It was hard to get up the next morning after such a relaxing night with my new friends at the Hookah bar. We found our way to the pipe show, up in Dublin off the main drag hidden behind everything. It almost felt as if we were playing some cloak and dagger game where you had to give a secret password to get past the large goons at the door to get in.

Why do people have to hide to get together to talk about, show, and or enjoy something that has been a long traditional history of this country. Tobacco was one of the first real commodities of our country, and now a bunch of liberal anti-tobacco extremists want to change that history into… a free-for-all, smoke-free, no-thinking-required zone where everyone either works for or lives off  the government in some way.

This government which wants to direct our lives from the cradle to the grave; in a country founded on the freedom of the individual, who fought for that right with the blood, sweat and tears of our forefathers as well as so many good young men, women and families.

RJR boasts to be an American company but why does it try to hide the fact in fine print on their tins about the use of 100% foreign tobacco in their snus?  At least Swedish Match tells us up front they travel the world to find just the right blend of tobacco to make their snus...including American tobacco for some blends.

But alas I digress, forgive me. Back on topic…

Talking Snus at the Pipe Show...and pipes too, of courseAs we entered the pipe show the aroma of all sorts of tobacco waifs from the various tables lined with all manner of pipes. Wooden pipe, corncob pipes, clay, and Meerschaum pipes, new pipes, old pipes, used pipes… all carved into all comportment of shapes and sizes. There were pipe stands, pipe tampers, pipe reamers, pipe cleaners, and of course tobacco.

You might ask yourself, what has snus got to do with all this? [Editor’s Note:  I was asking this myself about now.] Well let me tell you!

While wandering around the pipe show, the lady from the Missouri Meerschaum Corncob Pipe Company I had met last night came up to me and told me I had to meet her friend.

She introduced us and told her friend, “This is the lady I was telling you about that smokes a pipe and uses that stuff sn-us,” as she pulled my card out of her pocket to show her friend. Her friend and I talked for a few minutes about her pipes and the advantages offered by my snus.   

We discussed the PACT ACT, the Tobacco Control Act, and how they served primarily to generate more government tax revenue and show low-information voters how much politicians cared about being re-elected them.  Any health gains here are offset by the  significant growth of criminal black market cigarette smugglers.   

Washington seemed more concerned with stopping reduced harm tobacco and nicotine alternatives from coming to market, unless they are manufactured by Big Pharma.  Preventing children from getting tobacco products, already illegal, rings more of a boiler-plate justification than a goal.  

Ever notice how every politician who wants to make money score political points proclaims their bill will help… “…SAVE THE CHILDREN…”?  More bad, costly and restrictive legislation has been passed based on those three words alone.  Heaven forbid they should base legislation on "WE THE PEOPLE"...  Political correctness and money trump individual freedom and restricts you and me as adults from enjoying the freedom of being an adult.

As we talked other people became interested in our conversation. While walking around the room other people came up to me and began to ask me about Swedish Snus, which of course I was happy to talk about.

I consider myself a warrior for tobacco freedom; a crusader for Swedish Snus.

RJR and Camel SNUS may have bought 80% of the American market for now… but in time word of mouth will get around if I have anything to say about it.

I am one woman on a crusade to change the minds of the American people. Even if it may be only one at a time, but that one tells someone who tells someone… and before you know it… the people will know what real snus is.

Long live the tradition of Swedish Snus!


In the Wilderness for God and Snus
Reporting for

Read 9466 times Last modified on Friday, 13 December 2013 23:40

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