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Cigar 101 – Cigar Butt Disposal

While browsing through a recent thread on, I saw a bunch of users debating the age old question of what you should do with your cigar butts. I’m going to take this as an opportunity to rant about the dos and don’ts of cigar butt disposal, and with that, here’s this week’s edition of Cigar 101!

In my humble opinion, the best solution for getting rid of your cigar butts is smoking them so far down that there’s nothing to get rid of. For that, you need a pipe. Simply pack the cigar butt into the pipe bowl and smoke it the rest of the way down. That way, the only thing you’ll have to deal with is a little bit of ash, and you can throw that pretty much anywhere.

If you’re not into the idea of investing in a pipe (or smoking the nub’s nub), there are a few other odor-free ways to dispose of cigar butts. When the cigar I’m smoking isn’t good enough to smoke down all the way (or if I just don’t have my pipe on me), my method involves letting the butt go out, throwing it into a sealed Ziploc bag with all the other ones, and tossing that sealed bag into a garbage can once it’s full. The seal should keep the odor from contaminating the rest of your house, but it’s still a good idea to take that garbage out as soon as possible in case something rips or pops the bag.

My road-smoking method is to throw the butts into an old travel coffee mug half-filled with old coffee. This sounds utterly disgusting, but coffee is pretty good at neutralizing odors, and the mug is sealed, so it makes a great odorless car ashtray. user RedZeppelin’s method involves tossing the cigar butts into the bag where he keeps the ashes from his charcoal grill. This makes perfect sense, since charcoal neutralizes odors, though I’m not sure how effective charcoal is once it’s burned to ash. Nevertheless, I’m definitely going to put this suggestion to the test.

Many smokers use their cigar butts as fertilizer, either actively or passively. By passively, I mean throwing the butt onto the lawn and eventually shredding it with a lawnmower. By actively, I mean throwing either whole or broken up cigar butts into your lawn or garden. According to user Herf N Turf, many commercial pesticides contain high levels of nicotine, so adding cigars to your garden should be an effective way to keep the bugs away.

Herf N Terf’s method is a bit more intricate, though, than just mashing up cigar butts and throwing them onto the lawn. According to his post on puff, he soaks the cigars in a mason jar full of water, strains the mixture, puts it in a sprayer, and douses his lawn and garden with the tobacco-infused water.

I wasn’t able to find much about the adverse effects of nicotine on plants, but I did find something about tobacco containing a certain microbe that kills tomato plants, so just to be careful, I’d avoid those.

Another thing to avoid is putting still-lit cigar butts into a garden or potted plant. Many fertilizers are flammable and most top soil contains highly-flammable peat moss, so it’s a good idea to wait until the cigar is completely out before tossing it into the soil. There was news story about a guy who accidentally burned down his house by putting out a cigar in top soil—long story short, don’t do this.

For odor concerns, it’s extremely important to remember that for a number of reasons, grinding out your cigar butt will cause a much more hellish odor than simply letting it go out on its own. Again, I’m not totally sure about the science behind this, but I imagine that the increased surface area from breaking up the ash allows the odor to spread more easily.

Anyway, as clichéd as this sounds, safety should be your primary concern when getting rid of something that’s partially on fire. If you can’t stick around to make sure the butt is completely out, dunk it in water or, if you absolutely have to, grind it out, because the last thing you want to do is accidentally burn your house down after a smoke.

I hope this has helped to organize some of the chaotic message board advice you may have come across. Thanks to the many users of for their tips—if you have any of your own, feel free to post them in a comment.

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