What Did People Do If Caught in Tobacco Shortages Long Ago

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bluto

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Aug 24, 2018
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Wondering what pipe smokers may have turned to long ago , during a time when tobacco may have been scarce , during wars , The Great Depression ..
The two stories I have heard from old timers was from back in the 1930s when tobacco was hard to come by , they would sometimes smoke black tea
Alternatively , there is a common weed , they called it 'goats tobacco ' , it was cut and dried and smoked when times were tough
Edited by jvnshr: Title capitalization (please check Rule #9)

 

bluto

Preferred Member
Aug 24, 2018
739
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From what I have seen , soldiers from the 17 th century used small clay pipes
So small they could be concealed in hand , because smoking on guard duty was not allowed ..

 

workman

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Jan 5, 2018
1,704
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Where I live, The Faroe Islands, tobacco shortage was a problem back in the 19th century and further. Chewing tobacco and later tobacco for smoking was considered beneficial for all kinds of ailments. It was a painkiller, antiseptic, used for removing ticks and fleas, a remedy for hunger etc. Apart from the obvious enjoyment it gave. It is well documented, that the local parliament sometimes tested the quality of tobacco shipments and found them inferior, prompting grievous letters to the king. This was no mere hobby, it was life or death. But I have no imformation of any substitute for tobacco.

 

mso489

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Feb 21, 2013
26,705
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This doesn't relate to tobacco substitutes, but of course during the Great Depression the harvesting of cigarette and cigar butts was pretty common, right off the sidewalk or from the gutter or ashtray. Some stuck them directly in their mouthes, I guess, and others recycled the dry part in a pipe or rolling paper if they had it. Sherlock Holmes, who was not depicted as poor, would go through his own ashtray and pick out the unburned pieces to re-use. When tobacco was shipped all the way back from the new world in the 16th and 17th Centuries, it had to be expensive, so smoking had to be more of a special indulgence now and then rather than a habit. Native Americans had a wide array of herbs they smoked and blended. The Mark Twain/Samuel Clemens character Huck Finn smoked corn silk in a cob pipe. During the Long March of Communist forces in retreat in China, tobacco was a luxury afforded the leadership in good supply, which I don't think was Marx's idea, but was predictable. During WWII, when food, gasoline, and many other products were tightly rationed, tobacco products were widely distributed to the troops as a matter of morale. Briar pipes were hard to get and substitutes like Mountain Laurel were used; hence soon after the war many new pipes were stamped "Imported Briar" to emphasize this important material restored to the pipe market.

 

olkofri

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Sep 9, 2017
2,570
551
@ Workman: are there any records of the earliest use of tobacco in the Faroes? As in which century did the Norse start using it.

 

warren

Preferred Member
Sep 13, 2013
7,553
427
Stole from those who hoarded or tried to gain from selling their hoard at exorbitant prices. Stay tuned, what goes round might come round again.

 

hoosierpipeguy

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Jan 28, 2018
2,249
699
Stole from those who hoarded or tried to gain from selling their hoard at exorbitant prices. Stay tuned, what goes round might come round again
You say that as if you believe it would be justified.

 

warren

Preferred Member
Sep 13, 2013
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Naw! I'm looking forward to enjoying the extra cash in me pocket.

 

mso489

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Feb 21, 2013
26,705
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Many Forums members have more tobacco on hand than various European kings who smoked in earlier centuries, I surmise.

 

huntertrw

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Jul 23, 2014
3,860
13
The Lower Forty of Hill Country
What did people do if caught in tobacco shortages long ago
The late author Shelby Foote indirectly commented on this in an interview by Larry O'Connor titled Civil Discourse which appeared in the Fall 1997 issue of Pipes and Tobaccos magazine. It states, in part:
P&T: Speaking of the Civil War, our readers would probably like to know if pipe smoking had a significant role in it.
SF: Absolutely. A lot of the men smoked pipes. Tobacco was a prized object. The Confederates had tobacco and the Northerners had coffee, and they used to swap whenever there was a truce. There were some informal ways to exchange things, without killing each other.
P&T: Specifically the tobacco-coffee barter?
SF: Yes, that was the swap. The Northerners got an issue of coffee. And there was practically no coffee in the South. They used all kinds of substitutes, especially peanuts ground up.
P&T: There's a wonderful scene in your novel "Shiloh," where Confederate soldiers overrun the abandoned tents of retreating Union forces and then stop to guzzle the steaming coffee left behind, one soldier chugging it right from the pot.
SF: They were crazy for coffee and, as the war went on, it got rarer and rarer. There was never any coffee grown in the South, and the Northern blockade kept the South from getting it.
P&T: And tobacco was grown in the South, but not in the North...
SF: So it made a good swap.
P&T: How often would an exchange take place?
SF: Anytime there was some kind of truce...when there were burial details out, that would be an occasion, or when the armies had been in position for a long time on opposite sides of a river. They'd even make little boats with sails on them that they would sail back and forth to each other to make the exchange.

 

warren

Preferred Member
Sep 13, 2013
7,553
427
My intent would be to quit burning up my moneys. Unfortunately I ... have money to burn, as the rest of you obviously do. The money wafting to the sky or ceiling simply reminds me of my personal weakness. I'm not happy with that but, my love of nicotine over-rules the financial side of my brain. That provides the drive for more money as, I believe like water in California, tobacco will always be available for those who can afford it. So the thought of a shortage of blends and other tobacco products never seriously enters my mind. I might have to adjust my budget a bit but, I won't be deprived of tobacco products. Or, if I choose to quit smoking ... I still win.

 

hoosierpipeguy

Preferred Member
Jan 28, 2018
2,249
699
Admittedly, you have created a win-win outcome in your mind which is a good thing. I've been smoking McClelland St James Woods this past week which painfully reminded me this is the one McClelland blend I was unable to purchase as many tins as I wanted. IMHO, pipe tobacco is so cheap right now, it would be a bad decision financially to not cellar a lot of it.

 
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