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How and Why to Smoke Without a Butane Lighter

2 minute Read

While butane lighters are perhaps the most common way to light a joint, bong, or pipe, they may not always be the most preferable way.

According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), the butane used in consumer products like lighters is known to be an allergen for those who are sensitive to it. Butane fumes can irritate the eyes and skin, and when inhaled it can cause damage to lung tissue. In large quantities, such as in the case of “huffing,” butane can lead to suffocation. It can also increase heart rate and lead to neurotoxicity. However, while butane has great potential to cause harm, the chance that it would have such an effect on someone who’s smoking it, no matter how frequent, is low. Moreover, it’s thought that the flame from a lighter would burn off the butane, anyways.

That said, it’s still possible that small amounts of butane remain present. For heavy smokers, it’s best to minimize how much butane you’re exposed to, especially when lighting a joint or pipe so close to your face.

For those worried about the taste of what you’re smoking, you may want to opt for something other than butane, as well. Many cigar and blunt smokers, for instance, are very sensitive to its flavor. According to the Cigar Store, “Whatever burns in your cigar’s going to end up in the taste…Whatever you use to light your cigar is also burning.” While the Cigar Store advocates that cigar smokers use “clean burning” butane lighters, most cannabis smokers and especially vapers, who have a more refined sense of taste, can pick up notes of butane and often dislike it.

So whether you’re looking for more health-conscious or tastier ways to smoke, or you simply lost your lighter, here are a few ways you can spark up instead.


Duh. Matches are the simplest way to light up, and smell good, too.

Hemp Wick

Using the stove, a match, or a butane lighter you’re trying to keep far from your face, light a hemp wick and set it to your bud. The wick’s length is easy to manage and will keep you from having to have other forms of fire too close to your face.

Magnifying Glass

You’ll need a lot of sunlight for this one, and preferably a bong for safety reasons. Place the magnifying glass a few inches from the bud and let the light shine through it until the cannabis starts to spark up itself.


If you can, start with a new candle, since the longer its wick, the easier it will be for you to light up. This method also works best with joints or bongs, as having a candle too close to your face with a pipe could be dangerous.

Flame-free Lighter

These “windproof” or flame-free lighters are designed with plasma coils or arcs that reach very high temperatures capable of lighting up tip of a joint or a cannabis pipe. Some are also rechargeable, and as an added bonus, their lack of flame makes them a little safer for kids to be around.

How and Why to Smoke Without a Butane Lighter