Couldn't Find a Lighter

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Cool but Inefficient ways of lighting cigarettes, cigars, etc. Mundane Utility may be involved, especially with flamethrowers.

With so many very hot things inches away from people's faces, expect liberal use of Convection, Schmonvection.

For the most part, Don't Try This At Home. You can probably get away with lighting a cigarette or another smokeable from, say, a candle or lamp flame or a stove's burner, or from a reflective hot surface that is not a direct heat source, as shown in the Real Life example. Anything beyond this (barbecues, blowtorches, campfires, flamethrowers, pyrotechnics...) will likely fry your cig and you.

Finger-Snap Lighter is a specific subtrope for the pyrokinetic gentleman. Cigar Fuse-Lighting may be seen as an inversion.

Examples of Couldn't Find a Lighter include:


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Anime and Manga[edit | hide]

  • Cowboy Bebop: After a running fight with an alien... something.., during which he armed himself to the teeth, Spike uses the flamethrower he'd grabbed to try and light his post-battle cigarette. The look on his abruptly-blackened face when he burns it off almost to his lips is tragicomically priceless.
  • In Trigun, at a shooting competition, one contestant can be seen lighting his cigarette with a submachine gun.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist: Havoc asks Mustang to use his fire alchemy to light his cigarette.
  • In Super Dimension Fortress Macross, a Zenradi has his cigarette lit by a Valkyrie's main gun.

Comic Books[edit | hide]

  • In Doc Savage #5 (the DC Comics 1980s version), a crazed military officer lights his cigar off the pilot light of a flamethrower before torching the building Doc and his aides are in.
  • Hellboy's Liz Sherman uses her pyrokineses to light her cigarettes on occasion.
  • In Teen Titans, Ravager sticks the business end of her cigarette into Kid Devil's mouth to light it up.

Film[edit | hide]

  • Shoulder Arms: Charlie Chaplin in the trenches of WWI holds the cigarette over the trench gets a light from a helpful enemy sniper.
  • In Heathers, Veronica lights her cigarette off of the explosion that just killed her ex-boyfriend J.D. Also, when Veronica burns the palm of her hand with a car's cigarette lighter (intentionally), and JD lights a cigarette from the burn-scar's residual heat.
  • In Watchmen, the Comedian does the "light the cigar with the flame-thrower" trick.
    • Although, unlike the poster, he 'only' uses the pilot light.
  • In Oliver Stone's Platoon, one of the characters lights his cigarette from a villager's burning hut that the American soldiers have just torched.
  • In Blazing Saddles, Mongo lights a cigar by sticking it into a fire, while it's in his mouth. Badass indeed.
  • In The Manhattan Project, John Lithgow lights a cigar with a laser that is strong enough to cut through steel and concrete.
  • In X Men the Last Stand's Danger Room Cold Open, Wolverine uses holographic burning rubble left by an attacking Sentinel to light his cigar.
  • In Hellboy, Hellboy's first fight with Samael leaves his arm on fire. He lights a cigar with it before putting the fire out.
  • Boondock Saints: one of the brothers lights a cigarette using the flame from his gas stove in the first film. This is Truth in Television; see below.
  • In Miller's Crossing, Leo re-lights his cigar off a smoking tommygun after killing the would-be assassins who brought it.
  • Comrade Sukhov in White Sun of the Desert lights his cigarette off a dynamite fuse.
  • In the Buster Keaton short Cops, a distracted Buster absent-mindedly lights his cigarette off the lit fuse of a bomb.

Literature[edit | hide]

  • In Going Postal, Adora Bell Dearheart lights a cigarette on a burning letter that flutters past when the post office catches fire.
  • The first time Dr Watson meets Sherlock Holmes in A Study in Scarlet, Holmes is using a hot coal from the fireplace to light his pipe.

Live Action TV[edit | hide]

  • In the Criminal Minds episode "Natural Born Killer," when the BAU team is theorizing about how a gruesome torture-murder went down, they imagine the killer using a blowtorch to light a cigarette before using it on the victim.
  • In the Dad's Army episode "The Armoured Might of Lance Corporal Jones", Joe Walker lights his cigarette from a flame sprouting from a leaking gaspipe without realising it.
  • Angel: used for an Establishing Character Moment for the demon Sahjahn, who is first seen conducting the usual overblown Magical Incantation—when nothing happens he casually lights a cigarette from one of his flaming braziers and then checks his wristwatch to make sure he's got the time right.
  • The X-Files: in "Je Souhaite", a man who Came Back Wrong blows himself up when he tries using the lighting from a stove method to try and warm himself up—as his body is still dead he keeps fumbling the matches and can't smell the gas.
  • A sketch on The Sketch Show depicts a group of cavemen inventing fire. Once the fire is going, one of them immediately uses it to light a cigarette.

Tabletop Games[edit | hide]

  • One of the Shadowrun supplements featured a fake ad showing a troll lighting his cigar off the muzzle flash of his BFG.

Video Games[edit | hide]

  • In Space Station 13, you can light cigarettes with a lighter, or a welding tool. Also, explosions. Lighting it with a welding tool makes the game call you a badass.
  • Team Fortress 2 has the achievement "Need A Light?", where you have to have a Pyro set a Spy on fire when he's using his Disguise Kit taunt.
  • Happens to Big Boss in Metal Gear Solid Peace Walker, where he's frustrated for most of the game over not having an efficient way of lighting his cigars. He finds a solution when Zadornov tries to launch his rocket arm at him, gets ahold of it, and uses it's falme jet as a cigar lighter.

Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • The Looney Tunes short "Bacall to Arms" features a parody of To Have And Have Not, in which Humphrey Bogart lights Lauren Bacall's cigarette with a welding torch.
  • At the end of the Droopy cartoon "One Droopy Night", Droopy keeps the dragon he defeated to light his cigars.
  • In the Classic Disney Short "Brave Little Tailor", a giant rolls up a haystack into a cigarette and uses a potbellied stove as a lighter.
  • The Simpsons did it in an episode with multiple rockstars making guest appearances. For a benefit concert, they have a motorized Devil-head on wheels, complete with pyrotechnics, which Keith Richards lights his cigarette on by putting it in his mouth and sticking his head into the stream of flame.
  • Popeye used a hot plate to light his pipe once.
  • In an early Family Guy episode, Peter and Lois end up temporarily trapped in Cuba. Peter takes to it quickly by getting a Cuban Havanna, but failing to find a lighter he lights it off a burning American flag that a helpful local was carrying past.
    • Also when Peter and Lois went to a Kiss concert; a man in there had a cigarette and asked if somebody have fire. All the Gene Simmons (including peter) lit his cigarette with fire from their mouths.
  • In King of the Hill, Dale lit a cigarette on the Olympic torch.
  • In Melody Time, Pecos Bill uses a lightning bolt to light a cigarette. (This scene has been cut out of some versions.)
  • In the Betty Boop cartoon I Heard, a ghost lights a cigar off the lit fuse of a Cartoon Bomb.

Real Life[edit | hide]

  • Ted Taylor, a nuclear physicist, used the reflected thermal pulse of a nuclear blast to light a cigarette at one of the atomic bomb tests.
  • Happens frequently at fire-dancer gatherings, usually with a cigarette held in the mouth.
  • It at least used to be a common occurrence among welders...at least according to one former welder, anyway.
  • If you have a gas stove with an electric starter, you can use it to light a cigar or cigarette—indeed, many people have. It isn't the safest thing in the world, but hey, desperate times call for desperate measures...(we guess).
    • You could do this with a gas stove without an electric starter if you have one of those nifty flameless ignition tools, although this is more dangerous (as they generally require more concentration to operate than a built-in electric starter). And of course, you could theoretically do it using a gas stove without either of those things...but in that case, why not just use the matches or lighter you used to light the stove to light your cigarette?
  • In a interview with Forgotten Weapons flamethrower expert Charlie Hobson notes this is perfectly doable with a (relatively) modern propane torch ignited flamethrower, and he had indeed done it himself when he used to smoke. He notes it would be a bad idea to try with period igniter cartridges, which contained black powder, sulfer, phosphorous, magnesium, and powdered aluminum.