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According to the item description:

When you use an action to throw a handful of the dust into the air, you and each creature that needs to breathe within 30 feet of you must succeed on a DC 15 Constitution saving throw or become unable to breathe while sneezing uncontrollably.

If a character (who needs to breathe) snorts the dust, they're not throwing it into the air, so the rules do not specify what happens in this case. See What happens if a character snorts Dust of Disappearance?

As DM, I know how I would rule this (the character would have to make a save), but I am interested in the RAW interpretation. If I'm playing in an organized play context, can I tell my DM that no, according to the book, my character that snorted this dust won't suffer anything worse than if they'd snorted mundane dust (not that I'd ever waste a magic item in such a dumb way)?

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You would suffer the effects of having snorted dust

You would probably end up sneezing and choking due to inhaling dust, but it would not be a magical sneezing and choking. The description states:

When you use an action to throw a handful of the dust into the air[...]

You have not taken that action and therefore do not get the effects of the magic dust.

Having inhaled dust (accidentally) before, I'm not entirely sure what the difference between Dust of Sneezing and Choking and Just Dust is.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ For what it's worth, fully revoking the ability to breathe as a game mechanic is very different (as it can result in death in a matter of seconds) than the effect of inhaling dust in the real world. \$\endgroup\$ – David Coffron Jan 13 at 19:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ @DavidCoffron That line is there for comedy, but I did actually forgot the full effect of the dust, didn't realize it rendered you incapacitated. Although I believe it's unlikely to cause death, as you have 5 rounds before you start the dying process and that's only if you have a negative con mod. \$\endgroup\$ – Glenn Driver Jan 13 at 20:47
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    \$\begingroup\$ You don't get 5 rounds. You get a number of rounds equal to your Constitution modifier to start dying and then have to make Death Saving Throws. Even if you save against the dust while dying, you are still at 0 hit points then and have to be stabilized (and before you succeed on the dust ST, you can't be stabilized). \$\endgroup\$ – David Coffron Jan 13 at 20:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ @DavidCoffron Ahh, I see my mistake. I included the time it would take to run out of air, which is bypassed since the dust specifically says you are suffocating \$\endgroup\$ – Glenn Driver Jan 13 at 21:02
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    \$\begingroup\$ It only really matters on low Constitution creatures. Here's the numbers: How deadly is Dust of Sneezing and Choking? \$\endgroup\$ – David Coffron Jan 13 at 22:10

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