Throughout history, community has been one constant defining foundation of American culture. Modern communities gather around our jobs, the recreational activities in which we participate, and our common interests.
Within those communities, we have shared activities that bring us together and help us identify with each other. For some, that shared identity is supported and upheld by tobacco use.
You can use smokeless tobacco almost anywhere, doing almost anything, so dip has been a favorite among outdoor enthusiasts, fishermen who spend most of their time in an environment too wet to smoke, and manual laborers who work long, grueling shifts with only a few breaks.
Professional athletes also have a history of using chewing tobacco, enjoying the rush of nicotine while preventing the lung damage that comes with inhaling smoke from cigarettes. Tobacco has embedded itself into the culture of each of these communities, and many individuals proudly distinguish who they are by its use.
Further back in time, all of our communities were built around agricultural practices. Entire towns, cities, and economies depended on what grew well in a given region, and those crops shaped the culture of the region. For the South, tobacco provided farmers with a livelihood, as well as a way of life.
An America Built on Tobacco
When the first documented European settlers found their way to this continent, they discovered that Indigenous people were using tobacco for everything from their most important ceremonies to their toothaches. In 1587, when English explorer Sir Walter Raleigh sailed back to his home country, he took tobacco with him.
Though the English had already been exposed to tobacco from the Spanish agricultural economy, Raleigh’s new habit popularized smoking—or “swallowing smoke”. Thus began the tobacco economy that would become Colonial Virginia’s most important cash crop and eventually help fund the Revolutionary War.
George Washington was an enthusiastic tobacco farmer for a short time; and North Carolina may have been almost entirely built on a tobacco economy because it was one of the only crops that would grow well in the region’s sandy soil. People kept tobacco for personal use, trading it for goods and supplies as well as cash.
Andrew Jackson had spittoons installed in the White House during his presidency; and it was such an important crop for the economy that Civil War soldiers even got cigarettes in their ration packs.
The prevalence of tobacco has permeated nearly every part of American culture, including the country’s favorite pastime. Baseball’s popularity grew with the modern iteration of the tobacco industry, promotion for both going hand-in-hand. The first baseball cards came in cigarette packs, and tobacco companies left complimentary tins of dip in players’ locker rooms until as recently as 2016.
Tobacco Use Affected by Health Controversies
Separate from being a foundation of many American communities are the health risks associated with tobacco use. As a result of public disapproval that came with anti-smoking campaigns in the 1970s, there was a major shift away from smoking tobacco. Chewing tobacco was then pushed as a healthier alternative to cigarettes.
Later research indicated that while smokeless tobacco is not thought to cause lung cancer, the roasting and fermenting process involved in making chew releases carcinogens within the leaves, and it also deposits additional carcinogens onto them.
This revelation led many dip users to quit the habit. The last twenty years, however, have seen a gradual shift back to chewing tobacco, as smokeless products like vapes and other nicotine delivery methods have established a new market.
Shaping the Future of Dip
Just as tobacco shaped America’s culture, Black Buffalo’s innovative smokeless tobacco alternative stands to shape the future of dip. Other companies have tried and failed to provide consumers with a satisfying alternative to chewing tobacco that does not contain tobacco, but Black Buffalo’s dip changes everything.
It pays homage to the tradition that has made tobacco part of America’s identity for centuries, offering the same look, taste, and texture as the original, while leaving out roasted and fermented tobacco leaves and stems. Black Buffalo’s smokeless tobacco alternative even includes medical-grade nicotine to keep the feeling authentic.
As an added benefit, Black Buffalo’s dip is not subject to the same anti-tobacco legislation that causes so much variation from state to state—and fluctuation even within each state. Taxes and pricing are relatively stable, and the products are available in every state through ordering on the company’s website.
Honoring the Past and Charging Ahead
Tobacco is embedded in cultures all over the world, and American culture is no exception. The traditions associated with tobacco in the United States go back to the first colonists, who came to this continent and learned about its use from Indigenous people using the “magic weed” for everything from ceremony to pain relief. Its importance grew as our colonies grew, and it served as the foundation of a new country and a new economy. Tobacco has since had its ups and downs, but its popularity in various communities prevails to this day.
As health concerns become increasingly heavy on the minds of consumers, options that make sense while satisfying cravings are moving up in the market. Black Buffalo dip—along with other alternative tobacco products honoring long-held traditions and rituals—will lead the charge into the future, allowing consumers to keep the ritual and ditch the tobacco.