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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.

Inversion of Hard-to-Light Fire. Finger-Snap Lighter is a specific Sub-Trope for the debonair pyrokinetic. Cigar-Fuse Lighting may be seen as an inversion. Not to Be Confused with Couldn't Find a Pen. Compare with Impromptu Campfire Cookout in regards to food. See also Solar-Powered Magnifying Glass.


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  • An Australian ad for crumpets had World War I soldiers toasting crumpets (impaled on bayonets) on the enemy flamethrower streams that were firing over their trench.
  • A workman lights his cigarette from a blowtorch (and sets off a string of Disaster Dominoes) in this ad for King Gee overalls.
  • Dennis Miller in one credit card commercial poked fun at the existence of big-box wholesale style stores, saying "that's like using a cruise missile to light a cigarette."

    Anime & Manga 

    Comic Books 
  • Barracuda: In "Cannibals", Fine Flame insolently lights her cigarillo from the candle besides Raffy's sickbed as she is tormenting him.
  • 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.
  • Gambit (Marvel Comics): Gambit has used charged objects to light his cigarettes.
  • Hellboy's Liz Sherman uses her pyrokinesis to light her cigarettes on occasion.
  • In one issue of Manhunter, Kate Spencer is desperate for a cigarette and, unable to find a lighter, resorts to lighting the cigarette from the gas stove.
  • In Teen Titans, Ravager sticks the business end of her cigarette into Kid Devil's mouth to light it up.
  • In one Wolverine comic Logan sets a soldier on fire, then grabs him and uses him to light a cigar.

    Film — Animation 
  • In Melody Time, Pecos Bill uses a lightning bolt to light a cigarette during the tornado scene: a scene which has been edited out of many later US releases.
  • In Disney's Mulan, during the battle with the Huns, Mulan is trying to light the last firework but her she drops her flint. She eventually resorts to using Mushu's dragon breath to light it at the last second.
  • Saludos Amigos: In Aquarela do Brasil, Donald Duck has a drink of cachaça and breathes fire, which Jose Carioca uses to light his cigar.
  • In the climax of Toy Story, Woody tries to light the rocket Buzz is strapped to so they can catch up to Andy, but the match gets blown out by a passing car, leaving Woody despondent until he sees a sunbeam reflecting off of Buzz's helmet. Remembering when Sid burned him with a magnifying glass, Woody aims Buzz so that the hot beam can light the fuse.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • 7 Men from Now: After shooting his partner Clete so he won't have to split the $20,000 with him, Masters takes the cigarette butt from from Clete's mouth and uses it to light his own cigarette.
  • Ace of Aces: Jo Cavalier (Jean-Paul Belmondo) lights his cigar with... the Olympic Torch, of all things.
  • Alien: Brett uses his laser welder to light a cigarette.
  • In Blazing Saddles, Mongo lights a cigar by sticking it into a fire, while it's in his mouth. Badass indeed.
  • The 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.
  • A more subtle example in Casablanca, where Peter Lorre spends the beginning of his first conversation with Bogart lighting a fresh cigarette on the tip of the waning old one (a practice commonly known as "chain smoking").
  • Buster Keaton:
    • In the short "Cops", a distracted Buster absent-mindedly lights his cigarette off the lit fuse of a bomb.
    • in The Paleface, after some Indians fail to burn him at the stake (because he's wearing asbestos underneath his clothes), he lights a cigarette from the smoldering pyre.
    • And in The Goat, he lights his cigarette off a locomotive.
  • At the climax of The Crimson Pirate, Ojo uses a flamethrower to light his cigar.
  • In The Devil and Daniel Webster, the farmer from Massachusetts lights a taper from Jabez's fire to light his pipe, before Ma Stone scolds him for smoking on the sabbath. Later, while listening to Mary's story, Daniel Webster uses the candle on the table to light his cigar.
  • In Diner, Fenwick lights his cigarette using a stove in a department store.
  • Harpo uses a blowtorch to light a cigar in Duck Soup. In a somewhat related gag, he pulls a candle literally burning at both ends from his coat in Horse Feathers.
  • In Eastern Condors, before making his Last Stand, Ciggy lights his final cigarette by pressing it against the hot barrel of a .50 cal machine gun.
  • El Mariachi used this for a Rule of Three gag — the Big Bad twice strikes his match off the stubble on his mook's face, the third time the mook lights his own match off his boss's stubble after he's killed.
  • In Every Home Should Have One, Marty Feldman lights a cigarette off the exhaled flame of a fire-eater at a party.
  • During a build montage in The Flight of the Phoenix (2004), one of the crew is shown asking for a light for his cigarette from the crew member currently working with a blowtorch.
  • 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 Hellboy, Hellboy's first fight with Samael leaves his arm on fire. He lights a cigar with it before putting the fire out.
  • The Horse Soldiers: At Greenbriar Plantation, the officers light their post-dinner cigars off the candelabra Hannah is holding.
  • In The Lavender Hill Mob, Shorty lights a cigarette from the crucible in Pendlebury's workshop.
  • In The Lost World (1998), Cigar Chomper John Roxton lights a cigar from the flaming torch he then uses to light the funeral pyre of the party's dead guide.
  • In The Manhattan Project, John Lithgow lights a cigar with a laser that is strong enough to cut through steel and concrete.
  • After the big climactic chase is over in Maniac Cop 3: Badge of Silence, McKinney uses Cordell's severed burning arm to lit his cigar.
  • A blink-and-you-miss-it example in Midnight Cowboy, when Ratso (Dustin Hoffman) strikes a match on a taxi as it pulls away, lighting his cigarette and spinning back around to flip off the guy in the cab, in one motion.
  • Miller's Crossing. Leo re-lights his cigar off a smoking tommygun after killing the would-be assassins who brought it.
  • In Neighbors, Teddy uses a blowtorch to light his joint before the final party.
  • 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.
  • Posse (1975): After trying, and failing, to strike a match on the inside of his jail cell, Strawhorn resorts to lighting his cigar from the end of Nightingale's.
  • In Rimfire, Lee uses a burning brand from the campfire to light his cigarette just before his His Name Is... moment.
  • Subverted in SAS: Rise of the Black Swan. Oliver Lewis uses the pilot light of his flamethrower to light a cigarette, but rather than showing off his badass nature he just gets contempt from his father William (who runs their PMC company) for his lack of professionalism.
  • Shoulder Arms: Charlie Chaplin character, in the trenches of WWI, holds the cigarette out of the trench and gets a light from a helpful enemy sniper.
  • In Slaughter High, Marty lights the tainted joint off the Bunsen burner in the chemistry lab.
  • In The Sleeping Cardinal, Holmes uses tongs to lift a burning coal from the fireplace and uses it to light his pipe: an act borrowed from the short story "The Adventure of the Copper Beeches".
  • In Smokin' Aces, Darwin Tremor lights a cigarette off a road flare when the power goes out in the elevator.
  • One of the guests at the ill-fated party in the 1970s lights a joint from a candle in Snuff Movie.
  • In Survival of the Dead, a man sets a zombie on fire with a Flare Gun and lights his cigarette with the flame before kicking the zombie overboard.
  • Tales from the Crypt: After murdering her husband and burning the evidence in the fireplace, Joanne lights a spill from the fire and uses that to light her cigarette.
  • In Torture Garden, Dr. Diabolo uses a red hot poker from his torture exhibit to light his cigarette.
  • During a desert chase scene in Treasure Hunter, the Fat Comic Relief, in the back of a jeep pursued by Desert Bandits, finds an entire sack of dynamite in its boot compartment, but he doesn't have a lighter. His partner in the driver's seat who is a Cigar Chomper then hands him his lit stogie, telling him to "Blow those bastards up!"
  • In Watchmen, the Comedian does the "light the cigar with the flame-thrower" trick. Although, unlike the poster, he 'only' uses the pilot light.
  • Comrade Sukhov in White Sun of the Desert lights his cigarette off a dynamite fuse.
  • In the Danger Room Cold Open of X-Men: The Last Stand, Wolverine uses holographic burning rubble left by an attacking Sentinel to light his cigar. Yes, Wolverine is so badass he can light a cigar off flames that don't actually exist.
  • Zorro, the Gay Blade has Diego slash at a candle, apparently missing, but as soon as the Aldante turns his back Diego picks up the severed candle and uses it to light his cigarette before discreetly putting it back.
  • There's a short documentary contrasting a glass-blower slowly making hand-blown artistic glassware vs. a factory churning out hundreds of milk bottles — at the end, a factory worker whose job is to watch the line of red-hot milk bottles for defectives grabs one with his tongs, lights his cigarette with it, and throws away the bottle.

  • In the Bloody Jack book Rapture of the Deep, during a naval battle, Lord Richard Allen takes advantage of a bomb thrown from the enemy ship, lighting his cigar with the burning fuse, and then dropping the bomb onto the enemy ship's rudder, disabling it and ending the battle.
  • Discworld
    • In Going Postal, Adora Bell Dearheart lights a cigarette on a burning letter that flutters past when the post office catches fire.
    • In Men at Arms, Captain Vimes tickles a swamp dragon and, when it breathes fire, uses the fire to light a cigar. His wife is less than pleased with his mundane uses of her beloved dragons.
    • Vimes lights his cigar by picking up a lump of dried camel dung from the D'regs' fire in Jingo. The trick is not to mind that it hurts.
    • Vimes likes this trope. After successfully subduing Dragon King of Arms (who is actually a vampire, not a dragon) in Feet of Clay, he lights his cigar with one of the candelabras full of the candles he had successfully bluffed Dragon with, being unable to find a match. And then he burns down the Royal College of Arms with it.
  • Similar to the Watchmen example, flame-trooper Brostin of Gaunt's Ghosts has been known to light his lho sticks (space cigarettes) with the pilot light of his flamer, or off of whatever it is he's just lit on fire. It probably has to do with his pyromaniac tendencies, since he just as often does have a lighter.
  • In When the Devil Dances, Mike O'Neal's custom ACS has a flamethrower installed. When the non-ACS Colonel Cutprice sees it demonstrated, he asks to give it a try. In this case, it means Mike using the 'thrower with it held up for the flame to make a torch, and Cutprice leaning into to light a cigarette without any ill effects from being so close to the flame.
  • In "The Adventure of the Copper Beeches", Sherlock Holmes uses a hot coal from the fireplace to light his pipe.
  • The Undertaker: Crossed with Money to Burn in Black as Death. Barnaby sets fire to the bag of cash the townsfolk gave him to pay for burning down his business and uses the bag to light a cheroot. Of course, as he uses a match to set fire to the bag, he is doing it to make a point.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Absolutely Fabulous, Saffron mentions that Edina has only ever used their kitchen's stove to light cigarettes. Edina starts to protest, but realizes this is true.
  • 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.
  • Breaking Bad: Walt struggles to light a joint with a stovetop.
  • Copper: In "In the Hands of an Angry God", Molly lights Kevin's cigarette from a candle (although this would not have been uncommon in 1864).
  • 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.
  • In the surreal action-comedy Danger 5, Jackson loads a cigarette into his Colt automatic pistol and fires it (fully lit) into Claire's mouth.
  • On Deadliest Catch, be wary if Edgar Hansen offers to light the candles on your birthday cake. His methods tend to be a bit overkill (i.e. a flamethrowing torch).
    • Several times it's shown that Edgar and others have lit their cigarettes with a blowtorch.
  • Doctor Who:
    • Johnny Ringo lights his cigar from a lantern in the saloon during "The Gunfighters".
    • In "The Brain of Morbius", the Doctor use the flaming torch being held by one of the Sidterhood of Karn to light the fuse on a firecracker.
  • MacGyver: In "Pilot", Mac lights a cigarette off a hidden laser, then uses the smoke from the cigarette to expose the laser beam and discover the laser's location.
  • The Magician: In "The Illusion of the Deadly Conglomerate", Tony lights the cigarette of friend who is being held captive with a lit candle he pulls from inside his jacket. While the crooks think this is just another of Tony's pointless magic tricks, it actually allows him to place the candle in front of a gas line in preparation for a later escape attempt.
  • Marple: In "A Murder Is Announced", Patrick lights his cigarette from the candles on a birthday cake.
  • Midsomer Murders: In "Ghosts of Christmas Past", Jerkass Digby lights a cigar from one the candles on the dinner table as a taunt at one of the other guests who is not allowed to smoke.
  • On one episode of Mystery Diners, the hidden cameras catch the owner of the restaurant lighting a cigar off the gas burner of the stove in the kitchen. Charles points out to the shocked co-owner (who authorised the sting) that smoking in the kitchen is illegal.
  • MythBusters: While testing the 'Exploding Toilet' myth, Adam lights a cigarette with a blowtorch while Jamie is building a rig to allow Buster to drop a cigarette.
  • Played for laughs in The Nanny, when Maxwell uses a mini-blowtorch to light a cigar and intimidate an actor who once set him on fire when he was an errand boy.
  • 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.
  • In an episode of Seinfeld, Kramer lights a cigar using Jerry's stove. It works but he also catches his hair on fire.
  • On Whose Line Is It Anyway?, one suggestion in the crowd favorite "Scenes from a Hat" was "Times when you shouldn't smoke."
    Colin: [halfheartedly] Fire! [lights his cig on the impending blaze]
  • 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 warming himself up — as his body is still dead he keeps fumbling the matches and can't smell the gas.

  • Parodied in Old Master Q, when the titular character offers to light a guy's cigarette with a gas stove attached to a kerosene tank.

    Tabletop Games 

  • In The Play That Goes Wrong, Dennis, as Perkins, accidentally causes a small fire when he tries to light a cigarette from the fireplace.

    Video Games 
  • Death Stranding: In one of his boss encounter introductions, Cliff lights a cigarette on a fleck of falling ash.
  • Half-Life: Opposing Force: Whenever a HECU engineer uses their blowtorch on a closed door or grate, they'll light the cigarette in their mouth with it before getting to work.
  • Injustice 2: in a DLC character trailer, Hellboy makes his entrance grabbing one of the rockets fired by Black Manta and uses it to light a cigarette.
  • You steal the actual lighter in Lucius, resulting in a desperate smoker lighting his cigarette with a gas stove. It goes well...for a while.
  • Metal Gear:
    • A Brick Joke in Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker revolves around this - in the introduction, Snake is having trouble getting his lighter to work, and a man with a job offer for him lets him use a lighter built into the thumb of his prosthetic hand. Much later, when the man dies after launching said prosthetic at Snake in a Desperation Attack, Snake takes it to replace the aforementioned lighter.
    • In Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, Quiet helps Snake celebrate his birthday by lighting his cigar by sniping at its tip from a distance.
  • During the opening cutscene of the Spider Lair DLC of Metro: Last Light, one of your fellow treasure-seekers lights his cigarette off an absolutely massive flamethrower's pilot light, after offering said light to his friend first.
  • In Saints Row, after killing Victor Rodriguez, Troy lights his cigar off of Victor's burning remains. Dex is disgusted at this.
  • In Space Station 13, you can light cigarettes with a lighter, a welding tool, or an energy sword. Also, explosions. Lighting it with a welding tool makes the game call you a badass, and lighting it with an energy sword simply makes the game say "Holy shit."
  • Implied in StarCraft. The Firebat, which is a Space Marine in a suit of Powered Armor with dual flamethrowers, says "Need a light?" upon being trained.
  • 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, which involves him taking out a new cigarette.

    Web Original 
  • From The Onion article "Twelve Customers Gunned Down In Convenience-Store Clerk's Imagination":
    Fonseca then imagined himself dramatically pausing for a moment before dropping the empty pistols from his outstretched hands and taking a cigarette from the bullet-ridden Marlboro display. After a brisk patting of his pockets failed to produce a lighter, Fonseca lit the cigarette with That Camaro Fucker Who Always Parks Across Three Spaces' burning body.

    Web Videos 
  • In Chad Vader, one of Chad's coworkers at the grocery store asks for a light for his cigarette, which Chad provides with his lightsaber.
  • Pokémon Apokélypse has Giovanni light a cigar with a Charizard's flame.

    Western Animation 
  • In the Betty Boop cartoon I Heard, a ghost lights a cigar off the lit fuse of a Cartoon Bomb.
  • 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.
  • In the Donald Duck cartoon "Officer Duck", Pete lights his cigar by shooting it.
  • At the end of the Droopy cartoon "One Droopy Night", Droopy keeps the dragon he defeated to light his cigars.
  • Family Guy:
    • In an early 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 had a light. All the Gene Simmons (including Peter) lit his cigarette with fire from their mouths.
  • Futurama: The first time crew encounter the sewer mutants, Fry quickly lights a makeshift torch and starts swinging it around threateningly. One of the sewer mutants casually lights a cigarette from the torch.
  • Goofy: During the history of smoking in "No Smoking", the Goofy facing the firing squad has his last cigarette lit by a bullet. Later, George Geef uses his pop-up toaster to light a cigarette: catching it in his mouth as it shoots out.
  • In King of the Hill, Dale lit a cigarette on the Olympic torch. This later becomes a Chekhov's Gun when Hank accidentally drops the torch and at the end of his run comes clean that he didn't bring the original flame; Dale's cigarette is still lit, so Bobby takes it and relights the torch with it.
  • 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.
  • Popeye:
    • Popeye once used a hot plate to light his pipe.
    • Bluto bends lampposts to light his cigar.
  • Private Snafu: In "Hot Spot", the Devil lights his cigar off the hellfire of his Fire and Brimstone Hell.
  • 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.
    • In the opening to one of the "Treehouse of Horror" episodes, Patty and Selma do this on the flames while they're being burned at the stake.
  • Tom and Jerry: In "Texas Tom", Tom greets a female feline by rolling a cigarette, lighting it with his six-gun, and blowing "HOWDY" in one breath.
  • The Venture Brothers episode "Self-Medication", had Action Johnny getting his cigarette lighted by one of Ro-boy's Rocket Boots.

    Real Life 
  • It is perfectly possible and practical to light a cigarette using a candle instead of matches or a lighter. It is, however, considered rude and unlucky in many parts of the world. In Germany, for instance, it is said to cause the death of a sailor (as, back in the olden days, many unemployed sailors would live off selling self-made matchsticks, and using candles was tantamount to robbing these sailors of their pittance).
  • 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. While few of them will admit it, this trick is so widespread because secretly, most of them aren't quite insane enough to carry a lighter in their pocket while spinning.
  • It at least used to be a common occurrence among welders... at least according to one former welder, anyway.
    • Only TIG welders, since you use a torch for it. Which with no experience can more likely ruin the cigarette than make a clean light.
    • You can light a cigarette using (usually red-hot) tip of ordinary electrode right after welding — no TIG required.
    • Similarly, you can light it off the heat remaining in the workpiece.
    • You can, of course, do it with the flame of an oxyacetylene torch as well. Though the other way round — lighting the torch off a cigarette — does not work no matter what you do.
  • 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?
      • Because the lighter tends not to be a flame, but a spark (they tend run out of juice to quickly if you keep them turned to the full setting).
    • Of course, the most suitable gas stove for the job is one with pilot lights.
    • It is possible, although neither pleasant nor advised, to light a cigarette on the hot wires inside a toaster.
      • That's the idea behind hot-wire lighters in Chinese airports.
      • An electric stove works on the same principles as a car lighter — enough heat conducts through the metal for the metal to radiate it.
      • Actually it wasn't unheard of back in Soviet times. Lighters were relatively rare and while matches were sold everywhere, they tend to run out around midnight when the shops are closed... so that electric stove came handy (although the process was described as torturous by everyone involved).
  • The heat from molten glass (such as in a glass-blower factory) can be used to light a cigarette.
  • Lighting a cigarette off a lit blowtorch is not only possible but a lot easier than it would seem.
  • Lighting smokes from a Bunsen burner is pretty easy.
  • This guy, lighting a cig from a lit Molotov cocktail just before he throws it, in the January 2014 protests in Kiev.
  • Inversion: the glowing cigarette head is one of the safest and most convenient ways to ignite the fuse of fireworks.
  • While this is possible, it isn't recommended to do this with cigars - not because it's dangerous, however. Certain lighting methods negatively affect the flavor of the cigar, such as using a candle, liquid gas-based lighters or burning corpses. The best method is either a match or butane-based lighter.
  • Inversion: a college physics professor decided to try using liquid oxygen instead of lighter fluid for his charcoal grill. He accomplished this by throwing a lit cigarette onto the coals, then using a bottle of liquid oxygen on the end of a very long pole. He also wore a welder's mask and advised his guests not to look directly at the grill. The grill didn't survive.