Sparks from cigarettes...

OK, I’m a smoker (yeah, yeah… I know!):rolleyes:

Got a question, however: every once in a while, while smoking, I see a spark kinda pop from the end of the cig when I take a drag… and I’m not talking about a little red, ember kind of spark! I talking about a blue-white spark with an audible (if low-volume) pop!

Anyone have any idea what this is in the tobacco that would cause this?


Your cigarette is in training to be a “Burning Bush” and it thinks you’re Moses?

The cigarette factory is next door to the Kung Fu Fireworks Factory?

Alien nanotechnology has taken over the Phillip Morris Company and they are using cigarettes worldwide to signal to the Mother Ship?

Knock it off, Duck.

Sorry. My bad. :o I’m just sittin here killin time and biting my nails cause the Better Half’s not home from work yet and it’s still snowing and The Cat Who Walks Alone wants the car to go to church in but it’s got no gas and I’m supposed to let a 16 year old take an empty gas tank out into 12 inches of snow after never having driven on snow in her short little life…

sorry, Astroboy.

The cigarette makers add chemicals to the tobacco to help control the rate at which it burns.
Occasionally a cigarette will contain a larger than normal particle of the oxidizer (sodium perchlorate or others ?? ) and you will get an impressive spark like you describe.

As a former employee of R.J. Reynolds I can assure you that what you’ve got there is a little bit of the string that is used to tie up the tobacco bales. One of my jobs was getting that string out of the tobacco and it was the most boring job I have ever had in my life.

might be a bit o’ resin.

But I think the previous explanations are better.

Both could be correct, of course, but here is mine: they treat the paper by adding something (nitrates?), so a cig usually keeps smoldering, even in ashtray. This “something” could sometimes form little clumps.

Thanks all! This is the first chance to view this thread since hurriedly posting it this AM as I was running around getting dressed (wanted to post it before I forgot about the question).

zigaretten, I’ll buy the string theory(any physicists here? :)), but why does a little bit of string pop like that? I’ve seen string burn before, and never seen any popping like that!

Oh, and Duck Duck Goose no apology needed. Astro’s rule, for use in my threads only: if you amuse me, you need not apologize! Especially if you get scolded by a mod! :stuck_out_tongue:

I can’t give a good answer. The tobacco came from all over the world and many different kinds of string were used. The stuff that sparked was a sort of plastic twine. That’s all I can tell you.
The factorys were full of signs explaining exactly what would happen to anyone caught with a “cigarette load”. Never even occured to me until I read the signs…

Thanks, zig! If it’s a kind of plastic twine, that might explain it… plastic can burn pretty weirdly sometimes!

Astro now wonders whether it is silly to worry about inhaling burning plastic fumes, considering what he is already inhaling!! Hmmm… better have a smoke and think about it!

An intact bug head in your cigarette can explode while you are smoking and would at least give you the “pop”. I don’t think it would cause a spark though.

You never know what kind of twine or string the bales are tied with. A farmer can use several different types of string in the same day. We’ve even used cotton clothesline to tie bales before(yup I strip tobacco every year). So I guess it’s possible that some twine could cause the pop and spark.

My vote is for the chemical clumps though. I’ll keep telling myself that since I smoke because some plastics give off toxic smoke or fumes when burned.

Atropos, I don’t much like the idea of a bug head, either! Eeeeewwwwwww! :stuck_out_tongue:

Yeah, plastics (at least some of them, and I’m leaning towards saying all of them) give off toxic fumes… but so does tobacco! Which is more or less why I am addicted to the damn stuff! :mad:

Maybe it’s Brazilian exploding tobacco?

im sorry i cant help it its genetic please dont hurt me mister

But seriously, Astroboy, what kind of cigarettes are they? Is it always the same brand that pops? Consider the possibility that it’s something to do with the manufacturing process for that brand. Maybe Phillip Morris does something different to its tobacco for cigarettes that instead of making it into little leaves, makes it into leaves and crumbs which occasionally pop.

Maybe tobacco just does that, and you never happened to notice it before. If you look into a campfire, the logs don’t burn evenly like a gas flame. They hiss and pop as different components of the wood start to burn.

And my suggestion about the fireworks factory wasn’t entirely facetious, I don’t think. Factories do change hands and get used for assembling different things. It’s not outside the realm of possibility that your cigarette factory was formerly used for packaging dry dog food or tooth powder or something, and there are still particles of “whatever” that get into the cigarette-rolling machine. Maybe you can sue somebody…

And I’d like to thank Atropos for the “exploding bug head” suggestion. My son’s smoking friend is going to hear ALL about it. “Forget about lung cancer, didja ever wonder what ELSE might be in there along with the tobacco…?”
okay im done now… :smiley:

What else MIGHT be in tobacco? Hahahaha! You ain’t heard nothing yet! While smoking I have came across a whole wasp, a grub worm, several large ants, and rodent hair. Nothing like enjoying a cigarette and noticing the burned carcass of a wasp hanging half way out of it.

I’m betting you have never seen a tobacco worm either. Those nasty green things as big as your thumb or bigger. Some of those things (or at least cut up parts of them) will make it into the finished product. A tobacco worm head makes a big pop when it explodes.

Ugh. Why do I smoke?

Hey, I just had the same pop with a spark experience 5 minutes ago and this is the only place through google i could blog about it… (just joined to blog!)

it freaked me out so i flushed it… anyway… i heard a few months ago about a guy in India who smoked and the ciggarette exploded with half his face… hence, why i flushed it… the company paid all his medical expenses… that was nice :slight_smile:

Were you smoking zombie cigarettes?