I am a tobacco user, just wanted to get that out of the way. I smoke and I also on occasion chew tobacco. While this article is not intended for advocating this behavior or to promote any kind of tobacco product, it does however have its uses while in the field. I will focus on my personal uses and knowledge on this subject. I know of a few folks that will carry a cigarette or two in their kits for emergency situations. One use that I am going to be upfront about that makes me a little iffy for those that do not use tobacco is using one as a water filter. Keep this in mind, tobacco is toxic, it can be used as an insecticide and one can of snuff has enough nicotine in it to bring down three good sized men. This is done through methods I can not legally talk about so please do not ask me. When using a cigarette as a water filter it can be done safely if you first tear off the filter and remove all the tobacco. Trust me you do not want to drink tobacco tea! This can then be put into a hollow reed or section of cane and used. This will filter out sediment and some turbidity.
Secondly I have been stung by bees, wasps, and even scorpions. I have also had my dealings with spiders. The benefit of having some kind of tobacco on hand can really save a lot of pain and further issues. From my personal experience I have found that this will not only draw out toxins but will also have a pain killing property. This pain killing property is the nicotine numbing the area. Snuff is packaged in tins and is moist; this can be added directly to the affected area. Cigarettes on the other hand must be taken apart and moistened. I will just put the tobacco in my mouth to do this. Those of you that do not use tobacco products can simply use a few drops of clean water. This will then be worked around until evenly moist then applied to the site. This can be held in place with tape (any kind), a band aid, or even some kind of fabric. You will notice a little bit of tingling, but trust me this is normal. This means it is working!
This one is a little controversial but I have done it with no ill effects at all. The used cigarette ashes can be used to stop minor bleeding. I have slipped with my blade while in the field and used this method to stop the blood that is supposed to stay inside my body from rushing away and for more moderate bleeding I have used campfire ashes. I have found I hardly ever have to do this more than twice for the bleeding to completely stop. My opinions on this are; if there is nothing else then do it. Also, if they are readily available then you might as well. I have been asked why this works. Honestly I am not 100 percent sure. I strongly believe it is because of the lye that is in the ashes. This seems to react with the blood causing almost instant clotting.
Want to make some bugs convulse and die? A simple infusion made from tobacco can be made by steeping it in hot water and allowing it to sit over night. Once this is done strain and put it into a spray bottle and spray your clothing with it. Once this is dry put them on and go hiking. The nicotine will stay in the clothing acting as an insecticide as well as deterring some pesky little bugs from annoying you. This solution can also be sprayed inside your shelter to rid it of spiders and other creepy crawlies that may be lingering around. You can also be use the solution around the house and on your plants to keep the bugs away. You will however want to ensure that you wash the plants if you so decide to eat them (lettuce, etc).
Another good use for tobacco is for a coal extender or as a way of getting a fire going. I have in the past used a Fresnel lens to light a cigarette and used the ember to get my fire going. This works very well and I find it really doesn’t take up much space to have in my kit for a backup. Me being a cheapskate I roll my own smokes. This makes it possible for me to have access to loose tobacco. I will add some to a small tin and keep it in my pack for emergencies should I get bit or stung.