Snuff is a product made from ground or pulverised tobacco leaves. It is an example of smokeless tobacco. It originated in the Americas and was in common use in Europe by the 17th century.
It is generally insufflated (inhaled) or "snuffed" through the nose either directly from the fingers or by using specially made "snuffing" devices. There is a general misconception associated with "the snuff sniff". The nicotine in snuff is absorbed through the mucus membrane, so a pinch of snuff only needs to get into the nose. Most snuffers agree that if the snuff gets into the sinuses, one is inhaling too strongly.
Snuff is usually scented or flavoured. Typical flavours are floral, mentholated (also called "medicated"), fruit, and spice, either pure or in blends. Other common flavours include camphor, cinnamon, rose and spearmint. Modern flavours include Bourbon, cherry, Cola and whisky.
Snuff comes in a range of texture and moistness, from very fine to coarse, and from toast (very dry) to very moist. Often drier snuffs are ground finer. There are also a range of tobacco-free snuffs, such as Poschl's Weiss, made from glucose powder or herbs. Whilst strictly speaking these are not snuffs because they contain no tobacco, they are an alternative for those who wish to avoid nicotine, or for "cutting" a strong snuff to an acceptable strength.
Snuff taking by the native peoples of Haiti was observed by a Spanish monk named Ramon Pane on Columbus' second journey to the Americas from 1493 until 1496.