Queen Charlotte reads the latest Lady Whistledown sheet in Bridgerton
(Netflix)

What Exactly Is Queen Charlotte Sniffing in ‘Bridgerton’?

Queenie, what are you insufflating? Bushwick blow? Cheeky K-bumps? The devil’s dandruff? I’m not asking to make a Bridgerton scene. I just wanna know if you brought enough for everyone.

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What kinda nose candy is that?

What the Queen is snuffing in B-town is likely snuff. What is snuff? It’s an old-school drug for fancy people! It’s not any of the hard stuff, as snuff is simply tobacco. To be more specific, it is a finely powdered tobacco product made from pulverizing tobacco leaves. Snuff is often cut with flavoring agents of various sorts in order to improve the scent of the stuff, but it’s basically just a nicotine hit delivered straight to the nasal cavity. It’s not unlike a turn-of-the-century vape. It’s flavored the same, and for those who don’t have a tolerance built up, it probably hits the same too, with a jittery, slightly euphoric headrush.

Snuff was typically carried around by the wealthy in boxes called “snuffboxes.” Pretty uncreative name if you ask me. These boxes could be made out of everything from basic-ass wood to expensive-ass ivory. Think of a snuffbox like a really fancy bowl that you’d use for smoking the devil’s lettuce. Satan’s succotash. Bezeelbub’s bok choy. You know what I mean.

Snuff was so popular in England that it was officially endorsed by British politicians. A particular snuff called “English Rose” was provided for members of the British House of Commons, and a communal snuff box was kept at the door to the House of Commons until it was destroyed in a WWII air raid. Winston Churchhill personally replaced the box himself. Prime Minster and plug. What a guy.

Despite its popularity in Regency Era England, snuff did not originate there. Tobacco insufflation actually began in indigenous populations in Brazil. The plant used is called Hape, and it was designated for ceremonial and medicinal purposes by healers. The effects of Hape tobacco, depending on the dosage, are MUCH more intense than snuff. It’s often described as a cleansing and hallucinatory experience. It can also be super painful, as the intense plant can cause a burning sensation in the eyes and nose and even vomiting. These side effects are often seen as intended parts of Hape usage, and aid in the cleansing process of the body.

The real Queen Charlotte had such a habit for the stuff that it earned her the moniker “Snuffy Charlotte.” But as far as Regency-Era drugs go, snuff is relatively tame. The hard stuff was opium, which is also making an appearance during the show. Opium is derived from poppy plants and is used to synthetically produce heavy duty narcotics like morphine and heroin. Colin gives it to Benedict in order to ease his anxiety about art school because getting high on opium basically eases your anxiety about everything. Opium has a history in English literature, Sherlock Holmes himself used it in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories. Didn’t know he was chill like that.

But what are the actors snorting on set? Real snuff? No. According to the cast, it’s dyed sugar. Probably hell on the nasal cavity, but it’s not dangerous. When I say “dangerous” I mean long-term. You can’t overdose on snuff, just like you can’t overdose on cigarettes. At least, you’d have to try very hard. Snuff does have long-term effects, however. It’s nicotine, so it’s addictive as hell. It’s less dangerous than smoking, but it has been linked to many different types of cancer, along with asthma, reproductive abnormalities, and congenital disorders. Why does everything fun have to hurt us in the end?

So you wanna bring snuff to your next Bridgerton watch party? Just make sure to bring a fancy embroidered handkerchief. Newbies to snuff will probably sneeze on their first try, and there’s nothing less sexy than spraying snotty tobacco dust on your crush.


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Jack Doyle
Jack Doyle (they/them) is actually nine choirs of biblically accurate angels crammed into one pair of $10 overalls. They have been writing articles for nerds on the internet for less than a year now. They really like anime. Like... REALLY like it. Like you know those annoying little kids that will only eat hotdogs and chicken fingers? They're like that... but with anime. It's starting to get sad.