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Tainted Tobacco

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There are multiple ways of poisoning someone. The classic is Tampering with Food and Drink, but you can also poison their eating utensils, tamper with their medication, or poison something they are likely to lick.

Or, if they are a smoker, you can poison their tobacco. This has the advantages of being a substance they will willing take into their body without any urging from you, and may smoke it some time after you poison it; meaning there is no immediate link between you and their death.

This is most commonly done with cigarettes, but can also involve cigars, pipes, chewing tobacco, snuff or even E-cigarettes and vapes.

See also Explosive Cigar for another way to kill (or prank) with smoking materials.



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    Anime & Manga 
  • An early episode of Case Closed had a victim who was given cigarettes with poisoned filters. However, this turned out to just be a Red Herring, as the victim smoked unfiltered, and was actually poisoned in a different way, by a different person.

    Comic Books 
  • Batman: Although more famous for his lethal Exploding Cigars, The Joker has been known to use poisoned cigars as a weapon as well, using everything from ammonium nitrate to a special version of his Joker formula.
  • Captain Britain Weekly: Nick Fury has a very special cigar. It’s poisoned, but in the form of a one-shot poison dart.
  • The Red Skull often used a variant, with his trademark "Dust of Death" contained in a gimmicked cigarette holder, and sprayed on victims via Second-Face Smoke.

    Film — Animated 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Batman (Serial): In "Embers of Evil", Daka kills Marshall in jail by having Bernie deliver a pack of poisoned cigarettes to him. Bruce finds a half-smoked cigarette on the floor and makes off with it. he determines that the cigarette was poisoned and calls Captain Arnold as Batman to tell him about the cigarettes and Bernie's involvement. And just in time, too, because Captain Arnold apparently routinely helps himself to the personal effects of dead prisoners and was just about to light up one of those Medusa cigarettes himself.
  • In La Cigarette (1919), a Parisian museum director believes his wife has lost interest in him and so places a poisoned cigarette in the box on his desk - thus allowing chance to decide the moment of his death.
  • In Fallen, Det. Hobbes commits suicide by lighting up a poisoned cigarette: allowing to kill himself in front of Azazel without the other being aware of what he is doing.
  • In The Handmaiden, Fujiwara prepares a self-inflicted variation, always carrying cigarettes that are poisoned with mercury, so if things ever go really wrong for him, he can light one up and die on his own terms. In the end, he pulls a Taking You with Me when he knows he's lost and will be murdered (slowly and painfully) by Kouzuki—once they're both locked down in the basement, he asks for permission to have one last smoke.
  • In In Like Flint, Norton drugs Cramden using cigarettes treated with a soporific substance and stages a compromising scene with a prostitute at a hotel.
  • In A Jolly Bad Fellow, Professor Bowles-Ottery murders Delia by replacing her cigarettes with ones treated with his Perfect Poison. He is later Hoist Byhis Own Petard when his wife refills the cigarette box in the sitting room with cigarettes from his laboratory, not knowing they are poisoned.
  • Mindhunters: Nicole, being a chain smoker, ends up being killed by an arsenic-laced cigarette placed by the serial killer that burns through her lungs.
  • Murder Ahoy: Shortly after joining the board of management of the Trust of HMS Battledore, Miss Marple witnesses the sudden death of a fellow trustee, who has just returned from a surprise visit to the ship, much disturbed by something he has discovered there. He dies without being able to reveal his discovery. Miss Marple manages to obtain a small sample of his snuff, which is found to have been poisoned.

  • In Margery Allingham's Albert Campion novel Police at the Funeral, one victim is killed by cyanide being placed in the stem of a pipe, so that he will be poisoned when he sucks on it to check for obstructions.
  • The Beau Brummel Mysteries: In The Tainted Snuff Box, Sir Simon, an obnoxious parvenu who has ingratiated himself as the prince's food taster, samples a new blend of snuff belonging to Lord Petersham at a dinner party with fatal results. Believing he was the intended victim, Prinny orders Beau to find out who put the poisoned snuff in Lord Petersham's box.
  • In the Hildegarde Withers novel The Puzzle of the Silver Persian, a gift of a box of poisoned cigarettes provides a blind for the murderer. This apparent murder technique is only plausible because Everybody Smokes.
  • Joe Pickett: In In Plain Sight, J.W. Keely murders a prisoner by smuggling him a can of chewing tobacco laced with cyanide.
  • Masked Dog by Raymond Obstfeld. Devane tries to murder former rockstar Price Calender using his well-publicized smoking habit, by spiking his cigarettes with pure nicotine. Price however has cut down on his smoking over the years, so doesn't use the packet before a friend bums a cigarette off him and dies horribly before his eyes.
  • Parker Pyne Investigates: In "The Gate of Baghdad", the killer, having been exposed, lights a cigarette and delivers their Motive Rant and then keels over dead. Parker Pyne sniffs the cigarette and declares that is was laced with prussic acid.
  • Philo Vance: In The Gracie Allen Murder Case, criminal Benny the Buzzard is murdered by a poisoned cigarette.
  • The Sherlock Holmes Stories of Edward D. Hoch: In "The Adventure of the Domino Club", a Professional Gambler drops dead at the gaming table. After eliminating other possible means of administration, Holmes correctly deduces the man was poisoned by having cyanide injected into his cigar.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Colonel March of Scotland Yard: In "The Stolen Crime", the murderer douses the Victim of the Week's cigarettes in a new insecticide that is colourless, odourless and tasteless and vaoprizes easily when heated. After she is dead, the killer removes all of the cigarettes from the room and empties the ashtrays to disguise the cause, but doesn't realise that the victim had been using a cigarette as a bookmark.
  • Columbo:
    • In "Lovely but Lethal", Shirley implies that she knows that Viveca is responsible for Karl's death and tries to blackmail her for silence; Viveca invites her out to her complex that afternoon to talk things over. At her complex, which serves as a spa and home to a weight loss program, Viveca poisons a number of cigarettes. When Viveca and Shirley meet, Viveca slips the poisoned cigarettes into Shirley's bag without her noticing. Shirley smokes one of the poisoned cigarettes and succumbs to the toxin while driving away: crashing her car and killing her instantly.
    • In "Caution: Murder May Be Hazardous to Your Health", Columbo sets out to prove that television host Wade Anders is guilty of murdering his long-time rival, Budd Clark. Anders uses Clark's addiction to cigarettes to poison him by adding concentrated nicotine sulfate drops, which kill almost instantly, to his cigarettes.
  • Criminal Minds: In "Unknown Subject," this is how the Piano Man rapist dosed his victims. It worked against him in a few cases: one victim realized her cigarette didn't taste right, so she stopped smoking it and didn't get a full dose, and another victim recognized the unsub and got him to let down his guard by asking to bum a cigarette before tasering and abducting him.
  • Father Brown: In "The Time Machine", one Victim of the Week is killed when the killer places several drops of strychnine in the bowl of his pipe.
  • In the Series Finale of Goodnight Sweetheart, Gary celebrates VE Day with Phoebe, Reg and company, and saves guest-speaker Clement Attlee's life when a foe tries to kill him by dripping poison into Atlee's pipe.
  • Law & Order: Criminal Intent: In "Ill-Bred", a wife spikes her husband's chewing tobacco with fertility drugs while simultaneously sabotaging his condoms to ensure that he knocks up his employer, with whom he is having an affair, in an elaborate variation of the Baby Trap.
  • Midsomer Murders: In "Happy Families", the first Victim of the Week is killed when the murderer spikes his vaping solution with a slow-acting poison.
  • NCIS: Los Angeles: In "Glasnost", Mary Reynolds, a dialect coach, is accosted at a cafe by a homeless man, while another man switches out her cigarette pack. Deeks and Eric interrogate Artem Fedor in prison, and he tells about a plan to assassinate Mary, who is now hospitalized in a coma. Blood tests reveal that Mary, previously known as Katerina Polunin, was poisoned with Polonium 210.
  • Whodunnit? (UK): In "Death at the Top", the Victim of the Week is poisoned, and one of the mysteries the investigators have to solve is how the victim ingested the poison. The victim did smoke a cigar before dying, and one theory is that the suspect who opened the box stabbed the cigar with poisoned blade of the penknife he used to open the box. Being a Fair-Play Whodunnit, eagle-eyed viewers would have noticed he stabbed the box at the opposite end to the one the victim took the cigar from, so even if the blade was poisoned, the cigar he smoked wasn't.
  • Yellowjackets: As Jessica drives away from Misty's home in "Sic Transit Gloria Mundi", she lights a cigarette. Shortly after, she gets dizzy and realizes Misty laced her cigarettes with Fentanyl, like with the chocolates she threatened to send to Jessica's dad. She manages to cuss out Missy before collapsing at the wheel.

    Video Games 
  • Criminal Case: Pacific Bay: In "Dead Carpet", the victim ends up dead when he smokes a poisoned cigarette.
  • The Testament of Sherlock Holmes: After finding the body of the man missing a finger, Holmes and Watson look around his home and find eveidence that he was involved in the murder of the bishop. They also find opium paraphernalia. They perform an autopsy and discover that his opium had been laced with the same poison that had been used on the Bishop.

    Real Life 
  • In a non-lethal variation, the FBI once gave a captured Mafioso cigarettes that had been laced with THC (the chemical in weed that makes you high). As a result, he revealed valuable information that he likely would have otherwise kept secret.