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Cigarette Burns

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Vanessa: Ever had a cigarette put out on your skin?
Wade Wilson: Where else do you put one out?

Simply put, a smoker decides to put their cigarette or cigar out... on another living person. Sometimes this is used as an improvised weapon in desperate situations, but other times, it is used as a form of torture or abuse, such as a Bad Boss towards an underling. It can also be a sign that the character doing the putting out is a Jerkass or outright bastard. It can also be used to help establish how tough a character is, if they don't react to the burn or if they don't get burned at all. There is also the possibility that it is a form of Macho Masochism or Self-Harm if this is done to oneself.

Compare Second-Face Smoke. Related to Improbable Weapon User.


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    Anime & Manga 

    Comic Books 
  • In Robin (1993), Lady Shiva puts out a gangster's cigarette in his own ear.
  • In Watchmen, a young Rorschach combines this with Eye Scream, using the victim's own cigarette.
  • XIII: A variation when XIII mentions the best way to get rid of leeches is with a lit cigarette. Unfortunately, he doesn't smoke.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Professional Killer in Best Seller does this to himself as Macho Masochism. This is what tips off the cop that he's the same masked robber he encountered years before, having seen the scars on his palm.
  • The 1986 Ozploitation thriller The Big Hurt had an Intrepid Reporter investigating why several people tortured themselves to death, including a woman dubbed The Human Ashtray by reporters. Turns out a Government Conspiracy to develop chemically-induced Mind Control has Gone Horribly Wrong, causing the test subjects to invert pain and pleasure.
  • In The Breakfast Club Bender shows a cigar burn on his arm. "In my family that's what you get for spilling paint in the garage."
  • In the film version of Bernard MacLaverty's Cal, Cal closes his hand on a lit cigarette while flashing back to the murder he abetted.
  • The Crow: In a bar scene, one mook puts a cigar out on his own tongue for laughs.
  • Cube 2: Hypercube: After rescuing a general who was involved in black ops operations from committing suicide by hanging, someone points out that the man was badly tortured with cigarette burns.
  • Deadpool in Deadpool (2016) pushes this one step higher by using not a cigarette but a car lighter against a mook, first by burning his forehead, and then by tossing it into his mouth.
    Deadpool: I never say this... but don't swallow.
  • In Dude, Where's My Car? the two main characters are interrogated by the police. The cops try to invoke To the Pain by demonstrating what they'll do to them if they don't talk by hurting a mannequin. One of the things they do is put a cigarette out on it, and one of the main characters says "Leave him alone! He doesn't know anything!"
  • In an extreme example of Dyeing for Your Art, when filming Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas Benicio del Toro put real cigarette burns on his arm to match the ones Oscar Zeta Acosta (the basis for his character Doctor Gonzo) had. He wound up getting blood poisoning as a result.
  • The Gray Man (2022). A flashback of Six's father showed him giving his son a cigarette burn on his arm, ostensibly to toughen him up and learn how to handle pain.
  • In Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth, Terri (a chain smoker) is transformed into the Dreamer Cenobite, who tortures Joey by burning her with cigarettes.
  • Hoffa: Bobby Ciaro has burns on his fingers because he's forced to drive long hours by his employers, and so holds a lit cigarette between his fingers to wake him up if he falls asleep at the wheel.
  • In Innerspace, the Cowboy sits in an airliner seat and tries to smoke a cigar, only to be told that there's no smoking on the plane. He crushes out the lit cigar into his other hand, smelling the fragrance of the ashes afterward.
  • In the 2005 version of The Longest Yard, Torres uses his cigarette while being piled on in the football game to burn a guard's forearm. This gets the guard off him and earns Torres a down.
  • Man on Fire: Pita notices that Creasy has scars from cigarette burns on his hands, hinted to be a remnant from his past as a soldier, and asks them where he got them. He tells her she doesn't need to know and should treat him as an employee, not a friend.
  • A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors: While watching TV late at night past the mandatory bedtime at Westin Hills Asylum, Jennifer puts out a cigarette on her hand in an effort to stay awake so Freddy can't come after her. It fails, and he kills her.
  • Scanners III: The Takeover: Helena tests her recently-discovered ability to transmit her mind control powers through a camera signal by recording a tape to force her lover to put out a cigar on his hand. When Alex (Helena's brother and another "scanner") later sees the tape, he almost does the same thing.
  • The Sun's Burial: Shin the gangland boss burns Yasu, one of his minions, with a cigarette when Yasu pisses him off.
  • Terminator 2: Judgment Day: When the T-800 demands the clothing from a biker in a packed road bar, the unimpressed biker puts out his cigar on the Terminator's chest. The T-800 (who can't feel pain) doesn't even flinch, confusing the biker.
  • Thunderball: Emilio Largo uses a combination of a lit cigar and ice cubes to torture his mistress for information when he finds out she's in league with James Bond.
  • In Van Helsing, Mr. Hyde puts out his cigar on his own tongue before eating the remains while talking with Van Helsing. Likely to demonstrate either his madness or lack of fear.
  • Videodrome: Nikki puts out a cigarette on her left breast as part of her masochistic tendencies, despite Max's pleas for her not to.
  • In Weird: The Al Yankovic Story, Weird Al is in an office meeting with the Scotti brothers of Scotti Bros. Records when Ben Scotti tells Al that he can't smoke in their office. Al puts out his cigarette... in the palm of Ben's hand.
    Ben: I totally deserve that.
  • In Wildcats (1986), Molly tells one of the players to put his cigarette out while they're on the field, so he extinguishes it on his own hand.
  • In The Wild Life, 12-year-old Jim intimidates some would-be bullies at the bowling alley by putting his cigarette out in the palm of his hand, followed by a Bring It.
  • In X2: X-Men United, Wolverine comes into Cerebro smoking a cigar, and when Professor X tells him to put it out, Wolverine does so by crushing it into his own palm. Good Thing You Can Heal.

  • In 1968 Larry Niven wrote a short story called "The Deadlier Weapon" in which the narrator taunts a carjacker by threatening to crash the car and burns his nose with the cigarette lighter.
  • Attempted in another Follett novel, Eye of the Needle. When a disabled RAF pilot finds out that his polite house guest is actually a German spy trying to tell his superiors exactly where the main thrust of the D-Day landings will happen, the two fight and the pilot starts the confrontation by trying to burn the spy with a cigarette flicked at him. The spy mentally notes that while cigarettes burn very hot, they need to be held against the skin for several seconds before the burning starts and that trying to distract him with a thrown cigarette is doomed to failure.
  • First Lensman: When a minor bad guy decides to torture information out of Jill Samms, he starts proceedings by putting his cigarette out on the skin just under her armpit.
  • In Ken Follett's Mirage Katra is repeatedly tortured for information by Robbie using a cigar on her naked torso. He then subjects her to Electric Torture.
  • The Outsiders: Ponyboy mentions at one point that he once played chicken with Tim Shepard's brother by burning one another's fingertips with cigarettes; it went on until Tim Shepard himself showed up and chewed them out for doing something so stupid.
  • In his Back Story Rafael Encizo of Phoenix Force was tortured this way after the Bay of Pigs invasion failed. Apparently on the testicles as a doctor mentions that "someone has used his balls as an ashtray".
  • That Hideous Strength: Miss Hardcastle uses this as a torture technique when interrogating Jane.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: In the fourth season episode "Primeval", Spike manages to escape from Forrest by putting his cigarette out in his eye.
  • Cold Squad: In "Jane Klosky", a suspect did this as a form of Self-Harm while confined to a mental institution. In flashback, he is shown carefully laying a burning cigarette on his forearm above a line of identical parallel burn marks. Later, Ali and Tony observe the scars on his arms while questioning him.
  • House: In the episode "Distractions", House discovers that a patient has a cigarette burn on his wrist.
  • In the episode "The Magdalen Martyrs" of Jack Taylor, there is a diary that recounts the author's years as a young woman in one of Ireland's infamous Magdalene laundries, in which she and the rest of the "fallen women" sent to work off their sins and repent were tortured by a sadistic nun. In one of the entries, her best friend was leaving the laundry to get married, and the nun, whom all the girls called Lucifer, walked in. Lucifer told the friend that it's a shame she doesn't have a leaving present, but would think of something, and thereafter lit cigarettes for the two of them, gives her "The Reason You Suck" Speech about how memories of the laundry, and especially of Lucifer herself, would never go away, and then proceeds to give one of these as her farewell present.
  • On M*A*S*H, there was an episode where Col. Flagg put out a cigar Klinger was smoking by grinding it into his own hand, never flinching while he did it.
  • Person of Interest. In "The Devil's Share", John Reese is on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge and Team Machine come across the body of a lawyer who's been tortured this way. Shaw (whose Comedic Sociopathy is a Running Gag) protests that Reese could not have done this... as he doesn't smoke. "He would have just used a lighter. This is theatrical, amateur hour."
  • On Raising Hope, Jimmy tries to get his mother to quit smoking for the sake of baby Hope. They decide they should also get Maw-Maw to quit too. When Jimmy's father tells her about it, she shows what she thinks of that idea by putting her cigarette out on his arm.
  • Veronica Mars: While talking to his daughter's abusive boyfriend, Aaron Echolls shows him some scars on his hands. He recounts how his alcoholic and incredibly abusive father (something Aaron himself inherited) put out a cigarette on his hand when Aaron tried to stop his dad from beating his mother. He then gives the guy a better view.
  • In Ken Burns documentary on The West, a young girl thinks the Soiled Doves are glamorous until one takes off her dress and shows her the cigarette burns given to her by clients.
  • When the Barksdale gang from The Wire catch Brandon, a member of a group of thieves that robbed them, they torture him to try to learn the whereabouts of his boss/lover Omar, kill him, and leave his mutilated corpse on display as a lesson to anyone else who thinks of crossing them. A whole series of cigarette burns were part of that torture, although that only scratches the surface of what they did.
    Detective McNulty: [Looking at Brandon's body] Jesus, they must have killed this kid 4 or 5 times.
    Detective Norris: Cut him open in a dozen places, burned him with cigarettes... goddamn torture fest is what it was.

  • In "Slightly Imperfect Girl", Jay Foreman describes a flawed girl he'd live happily with. Only her issues worsen with each verse, and in the last one, she's throwing tantrums and putting out cigarretes on him.
  • In The Who's rock opera, Tommy, this is one of the many things Cousin Kevin does to Tommy.

    Professional Wrestling 

    Video Games 
  • Batman: Arkham Origins: Warden Joseph has a bandage over his left eye for the duration of the game as a result of Black Mask (actually the Joker) burning his eye with a cigarette.
  • Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2: While they have her in captivity, Zobek puts out a cigarette on Raisa Volkova's face.
  • Detroit: Become Human: Carlos's android has cigarette burns all over his left arm. Judging by the amount (his arm has nearly broken down from the damage), Carlos never put his cigarettes out anywhere else.
  • Devil May Cry:
    • The debut trailer for DmC: Devil May Cry depicted Dante putting his cigarette out on a demon's face while holding it in a headlock.
    • Devil May Cry 5's opening has Nico putting out her smoke on the face of a demon trying to get into her van, just before she dislodges it by means of a road sign.
  • Mortal Kombat X: Jax will do this to his victims in one of his Fatalities, or to himself in some of his pre-fight intros. Justified, since his arms are robotic.
  • Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time: Right before fighting Sly, El Jefe grinds out his cigar on his own palm... and doesn't bat an eye while doing so.
  • Yakuza 3: One of the Heat Actions Kiryu learns is the "Essence of Smoking", where he lights up a cigarette, and if he's about to get attacked while smoking, he spits out his cigarette into his opponent's face, burning them, and then punches them for good measure.


    Western Animation 
  • Family Guy:
    • In "Screwed the Pooch", Carter puts a cigarette out on Peter's chest.
    • In "Breaking Out Is Hard to Do", Lois, while addicted to the rush of shoplifting, puts out a cigarette on her own arm.
    • In "Friends of Peter G.", Death shows Peter what he will become if he doesn't learn to control his drinking: an abusive Fat Slob who tortures his family with cigar burns (though Stewie enjoys it).
    • In "He's Bla-ack!", one of Peter's ideas to mend Lois and Donna's feud is giving them an abused animal to heal, and he shows Cleveland a bald eagle he put cigarettes out on for being a "dick". Cleveland is appalled at this...until the eagle squawks something offensive at him, after which he tells Peter to lock the door and lights up a cig.


Video Example(s):


Yasuko the Human AshTray

Yasuko is stuck under the thumb of a Yakuza Boss. So much so she essentially serves as her ashtray.

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