A Smoker’s Superstition

The following is a conversation with CL that describes his interpretation of a superstition found among smokers.


CL: As the story goes, back in World War One, there were three soldiers, I don’t know what army they were fighting for or whatever, but they were all in a trench and they were going to have a cigarette, but they only had one match. So, they lit the match, and the first soldier got his cigarette lit. And across the way, there was another soldier watching and saw the light, so he aimed his rifle at the light. And the second cigarette got lit with the next soldier, and that time the soldier across the way took aim. And then the third soldier got his cigarette lit, and the soldier across the way fired and killed all three soldiers. So, it has become unlucky to light three cigarettes off the same match.


EK: Interesting, so do you partake in this superstition yourself?


CL: Absolutely. To this day you’ll find people that will- guys sitting around having cigarettes will give a light to one person with a lighter, and then a second person, and then will stop the light and light the third cigarette with a different lighter. But to this day, I’m not sure if this soldier story is true or not, but smokers partake in it all the time.


EK: So where did you here this from, other than just being a smoker yourself?


CL: That comes down to me from my mom who told me that story when I was much younger. And yeah, I use it myself, so I guess that’s what it means to me, haha.


My Interpretation:

As a non-smoker, I’m not familiar with this superstition. However, several family members of mine are smokers and do partake in this superstition, though as I’ve asked around, not many know the root of the superstition like CL. Though I find the superstition to be strange, I think that smokers find the superstition very serious. I assume that they believe that if they don’t follow this rule, that a variety of bad things associated with smoking could happen to them. Happenings such as dropping the match and everything catching on fire, getting lung cancer, or maybe even just losing your lighter or box of cigarettes, would all be motivation for a smoker to follow through on this superstition, because it’s not worth the chance that these things could happen.