Time for a smoke?
October 1, 2006 12:18 PM   Subscribe

How long does it take a typical person to smoke a typical UK-brand cigarette (e.g. Silk Cut or Marlboro Light) to just above the filter?

I'm not a smoker and I don't know any people who admit to being smokers.
posted by Hogshead to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (27 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
(Now I have this picture of a whole bunch of MeFites simultaneously busting out a packet of fags and a stopwatch.)
posted by Hogshead at 12:28 PM on October 1, 2006

I haven't smoked for two years; and it's been even longer since I smoked a regular-out-of-the-box fag. But, as far as I can remember, about 6-7 mins. Some people smoke quicker -- depends on how much/how hard you chuff.
posted by popcassady at 12:31 PM on October 1, 2006

Knowing how long people in my office take to have a fag break, the answer would appear to be about 20-25 minutes.
posted by essexjan at 12:51 PM on October 1, 2006

I'd say about 6 minutes. Obviously it does depend on the cigarette.

Lights burn faster than full strength, and also people who have smoked longer, in my experience, smoke faster.

I shall go and time a Lambert & Butler Silver for you now though!
posted by 999 at 12:56 PM on October 1, 2006

Shockingly, that has just taken me 3:16

It was a bit windy outside but I was in the porch.

Why do you ask? I'm intrigued now...
posted by 999 at 1:06 PM on October 1, 2006

I have heard of a productivity study (could not find it after quick check) that said the average American worker takes 6 minutes to smoke a cigarette. Add in the travel time up and down the elevator or walking outside and with 4 cigs a day, you hae wasted an hour of productivity.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 1:24 PM on October 1, 2006

6-7 minutes. Less if it's cold/windy outside. More if it's one of those natural type cigarettes which just seem to smoke more slowly.
posted by jessamyn at 1:31 PM on October 1, 2006

It is said that the average time to smoke a cigarette is 7 minutes. I have managed to smoke cigarettes in less than three minutes, but that usually only happened when I'd snuck to the john during class back in high-school.
posted by richardh at 1:48 PM on October 1, 2006

About 5 minutes for a regular king size filter cigarette. American Spirits burn quite a bit longer.

When I did smoke, I smoked my cigarettes fairly leisurely though.
posted by neckro23 at 1:59 PM on October 1, 2006

5 and a half mins. Marlboro Light, sitting inside, browsing. Less if standing up, outside, stressed. More if talking.
posted by Gratishades at 2:10 PM on October 1, 2006

I'm USian and I smoke US cigarettes, but I can go over some of the variables involved.

Pack: US cigarettes come with the tobacco in the cigarette somewhat loosely packed and burn quickly in that state (~4-5 minutes for me.) This why you see many smokers, at least in the US, beating the top of a cigarette pack on their hand or a hard surface before they open the pack. This packs the tobacco which adds a minute or two to the burn time.

Experience: Experienced smokers automatically cover the tiny holes around the filter on light cigarettes with their fingers to get more concentrated smoke. This results in a greater pressure differential across the ember which yields a faster burn.

Environment: When it is freezing or raining outside, people smoke much faster so that they can get their hit and get back inside. People also tend to smoke faster by themselves than when they are chit-chatting with others.

Since you claim to have no contact with the smoking world, I am really curious as to why you asked this question.

I will share one other tidbit with you: starting smoking is the dumbest thing I ever did.
posted by SteveTheRed at 2:23 PM on October 1, 2006

I forgot one other thing

I have smoked Dunhill cigarettes a few times, which I believe are from the UK. They were very tightly packed and took about 7.5 minutes. I don't know if all UK cigarettes are like that.
posted by SteveTheRed at 2:25 PM on October 1, 2006

I think you won't get a much better answer than 'it depends'. In times of need it is possible to smoke much faster by pinching the filter, and taking deep drags; the more I smoked, the more I found myself doing this automatically as it leads to a stronger hit per drag. I knew a guy a couple of years ago who was ex-army, he would smoke a whole cig in less than 2 minutes, pinching the filter tight and taking great grasping breaths, apparently because he had to get used to smoking in a hurry at some point. But I think 5-6 mins would probably be a fair rough average, for a casual smoke.

As a side note, If I recall correctly, on the occasions I've smoked US cigs they've lasted longer because they're stronger. But I think it's really varies entirely depending on the person smoking, the type of cigarette and the circumstances of the smoke. A superking, for example, is long and nasty tasting, and can last a lot longer than a tasty marlboro. Oh, and Silk Cut isn't really typical, they're only really for people who don't want to smoke but can't help themselves, since they are barely smokable.
posted by MetaMonkey at 2:36 PM on October 1, 2006

I just quit a week ago and it feels great.

I smoked Camel Ultra Lights @ about 5 min. a cig...
posted by prodevel at 2:52 PM on October 1, 2006

>But I think it's really varies entirely depending on the person smoking, the type of cigarette and the circumstances of the smoke

I'd agree. I remember camels (not British, I know) seemed to burn a lot quicker than other smokes where I felt I had to race the cigarette to get the value out of it.

I think it took me about five minutes. And I like winter so I never smoked faster in the snow. I smoked Dunhill Specials.

>I just quit a week ago and it feels great.
127 days, fwiw. Quit when I got chicken pox last spring.
posted by philfromhavelock at 3:31 PM on October 1, 2006

Just now, it took me 4 minutes, 19 seconds to smoke a B&H Gold, indoors, at rest.

I've noticed that it varies massively from person to person, especially since the smoking ban started in Scotland - the accepted etiquette in a group of smokers outside the pub or club is to wait for the last person to finish, and I generally have to wait a couple of minutes after finishing, having finished a couple of minutes after the first to finish.

e.g. Silk Cut or Marlboro Light

They don't actually count as cigarettes ;-)
posted by jack_mo at 3:34 PM on October 1, 2006

This article reinforces the idea that different smokers smoke differently. Very, very heterogeneous.

This ISO document, I would think, might tell you how long the cigarette-smoking machine operates per cigarette or perhaps standard ranges of time that the machine takes to consume a complete cigarette.

Personally, I take about 5 minutes (Canadian cigarettes). The length of time for light cigarettes differ by not only the amount of "holes" in the filter but also to the type of tobacco. Marlboro and other cheap brand light cigarettes burn really fast. Other light cigarettes burn longer than normal cigarettes (esp. American Spirits). Packing (slapping the pack before opening) makes quite a difference with American cigs, but make negligible difference with Canadian ones.

French cigs - Gauloise and Gitane - burn a little faster for me. About 4 minnutes. The light versions take me about 5. Exported Dunhills (as opposed to Canadian Dunhills) burn pretty slow. Dunhill special reserves burn a bit slower than regular Dunhills.

Maybe try searching PubMed and go through papers studying smoking and see if they mention anything in their methodologies sections. Some journals are completely free, others you'll either have to pay an exhorbitant sum for single-copies of the paper - or you could snag an accademic proxy and get it for "free."
posted by porpoise at 3:50 PM on October 1, 2006

Again, another average of about 5-6 minutes but as I smoke the longer ones that usually takes me about 7-8 minutes. Time available, weather, social situations, desperation for a hit of nicotine are all factors in time taken.

Personal puff rate is another factor and I've noticed that I finish my smoke about 30-40 seconds before my flatmate after sparking up at the same time.
posted by floanna at 3:55 PM on October 1, 2006

I know you said UK, but you know...

It apparently takes me about 5 minutes to smoke a Camel Light. It takes my girlfriend at least another two or three minutes.
posted by Netzapper at 4:58 PM on October 1, 2006

Depends where you're smoking. If you have to go outside, you smoke it faster.
posted by orthogonality at 4:58 PM on October 1, 2006

3.5 minutes for a Marlboro Menthol inside on the couch; 3 minutes outside when it's slightly breezy; almost no time at all if I've been drinking.
posted by bunglin jones at 5:08 PM on October 1, 2006

...oh, and as far as I can tell, that's about "typical".
posted by bunglin jones at 5:09 PM on October 1, 2006

Just over two and a half minutes. UK Camel Light (sorry, Blue), outside, slightly blustery but not cold.
posted by dogsbody at 5:17 PM on October 1, 2006

Fantastic. Thanks to all. Anyone who appears to have actually timed themselves smoking a ciggie for the purpose of answering this question gets a best-answer box.

999 asked why I need to know. It's for a web-game I'm scripting, a howdunnit crime story designed to explain the UK criminal justice system to schoolkids. In it the `18-year-old suspect claims she was waiting somewhere for two minutes, but at the scene you find two fresh cigarette ends with her DNA on the filters, proving she was there for longer. I needed to know exactly how long that would be.
posted by Hogshead at 5:29 PM on October 1, 2006

High schoolers are in a hurry, as smoking is usually not allowed for them.... they could very possibly down two cigs in two minutes. :)
posted by Malor at 7:03 PM on October 1, 2006

If, as she arrived, she used the dying ember of one cigarette to light the second, then she may have been there only 2 minutes 30 seconds. (Assuming she was standing in a cold blustery place, smoking Camel Blues, and using dogsbody's lungs.)

Just saying.
posted by The Monkey at 7:27 PM on October 1, 2006

My driving route to work takes approximately 9 minutes, and home it takes 7. I know if I light my cigarette in the parking lot in front of work, I end up putting it out on the street off the road my house is on. So, yeah, about 7 minutes.

Highschoolers downing two cigs in two minutes, Malor? Man. That was just a few years ago for me, but I could never do that. I knew how to take my time :)
posted by Glitter Ninja at 10:46 AM on October 3, 2006

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