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Traditional Tobacco

Tobacco prevention goes beyond educating about the harms associated with commercial tobacco use. Part of our job in preventing the damage done by big tobacco companies is to educate on the traditional and the original intended use of tobacco. Traditional tobacco is still used and part of practice in many tribes and communities.

To learn more visit: Traditional Tobacco | Keep It Sacred (

Hand whittling end of stick
Samples of cedar, sage, sweetgrass, and tobacco
Hand pulling out crushed up herbs from sack
Image of tobacco plant and leaf

What is Traditional Tobacco?

Traditional tobacco comes from a plant with large green leaves. Traditional tobacco is harvested and dried out for various uses. One of the other common types of Traditional tobacco is used in combination with other grown or harvested plants and herbs.

How is it used?

Traditional tobacco is used in ceremony and prayer, but can also be used medicinally. Typically people who use traditional tobacco may use it as an offering to a higher power or to give back to the land. Traditional Tobacco is never inhaled completely, but can be smoked and released back into the environment. There is no intention to receive a desired feeling or effect from smoking the tobacco, other than to use as an offering.

Why is it important?

Traditional tobacco is typically used for ceremonies, and celebrations, its used as medicine, and has a high cultural and spiritual importance to various tribes. The importance of using tobacco for its intended use is a tradition that is passed on for generations of native peoples. Teaching children and youth the appropriate way to use and respect tobacco can also teach youth the dangers and harms of commercial tobacco products. 

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