I don’t smoke, but I can see the benefits of cigarettes in emergency situations. I prefer to think of cigarettes as “tinder sticks”. They are well suited for solar fire methods because they are tightly packed dark fibrous tinder. A classic use of cigarettes is when a flashlight reflector is used for solar fire starting. To accomplish this, remove the reflector from a flashlight, and then remove the bulb. Tear off one side of the cigarette tip to create a dark focal plane, then place the cigarette tip where the light bulb is normally mounted and point the reflector at the sun. In effect, you reverse the light shining process into a light collection process to ignite the tobacco.
A cigarette can also be used as a “slow match” or coal carrier. As a child I remember adults using their cigarette to light fireworks on the 4th of July celebration. Although there have been attempts to make “fire safe cigarettes”, they can still produce fire and can be kept alive with a draw of your breath.
Cigarettes can also be used as a water filter by placing it in a reed or tube with the tobacco end facing the water source and the filter facing you. It won’t filter out microscopic impurities, but it will filter out most visible impurities to improve the water quality.
I’ve also heard to 2 medical uses for cigarettes. One use is to apply tobacco as a poultice to draw out venom from insect stings. Another use of a cigarette is as an ear candle to draw out excess ear wax when your ear is plugged with ear wax. The filter end is gently placed in the outer ear canal while the tip is ignited. Safety precautions are obviously needed for this procedure which is best done with an assistant and an aluminum foil shield surrounding the filter.
Perhaps you have used cigarettes in your own emergency situations or have heard of others’ use. Please leave a comment to share your experiences.