Introduction: Covert Spy Cigarettes!

About: I'm in my final year of Product Design at uni so I don't have as much time for tinkering as I'd like. When I'm free I enjoy making props,mechanical models and an ever-growing 1/72 model of wartime Stalingrad -…

All of the projects in this Instructable will show you how to make your own spy toolkit, all disguised within the common, unsuspected cigarette.

(Size used was 7.5mm x 84mm)

I take no responsibility for your actions. Never light or drop a cigarette in a flammable area. Always comply to your country's laws. Never give a modified cigarette to anyone else. Always take care when making things and use proper safety equipment. 

Devices concealed:

Compass needle
Drill bit
Wire wool
Torch flashlight
Fishing line
Fake blood

Although it is not as widespread as during the 20th Century and I do not promote smoking or smoke myself, it is still very common and so is a prime item for concealment.

More often than not the smell and packet branding of the cigarettes is one of the most import parts of a cover identity especially when in another country. If you are posing as a French farmer then it would look suspicious if you were to smoke high quality American tobacco compared to the common choice of your peers.

Step 1: Compass Needles, Scalpels and Drill Bits

This is one of the easiest concealments requiring no alteration to the cigarette other than insertion. Giggedy.

The main reason for hiding a needle (other than sewing) is it that it would be magnetised, allowing the undercover agent to find magnetic North by putting the needle through a small piece of polystyrene or cork and placing in still water and allowing it to rotate. Such devices were used by resistance groups and downed pilots during WW2.

The needle or blade can be magnetised by rubbing a magnet along the metal in one direction about 20 -30 times.

The scalpel or needle can simply be pushed into the cigarette being careful not to pierce the paper. For a wider blade or the drill bit some tobacco removal may be required.

Cover the hidden item with more tobacco.

Step 2: Secret Message

It is quite common to me asked for a cigarette in anywhere  from a big city to a farm, this makes them a great way of passing secret information.

Say you need to pass a message to an ally, but you don't know what he looks like and don't want to give them game away by asking. So, you arrange a meeting in a public place with a script for you both to say to confirm you are not mistaken, such as

"Can I have a smoke please mate??"

'Oh, all right then. I've only started since I went to Lisbon.'

"Yes, I hear they are big smokers in Australia."

....something like that. Then you hand over the cigarette and light it, the ally leaves and stubs it out around the corner and breaks it open to read the message.

1. Write out your message on paper.

2. Fold it in half.

3. Fold it in half in the same direction.

4. Wrap it around into a short cylinder as shown.

5. Push it down into the empty cigarette making sure the smoke can go through the hole in the middle.

6. Refill with tobacco.

Step 3: Incendiary Cigarettes

This was also used in the Second World War, presumably intended for fast fire lighting in survival, signalling or sabotage as a disguisted substitute for windproof matches.

The wire wool can be removed and pulled apart to catch a spark for fire lighting, or placed in loose, left in the cigarette and lit to produce a sparkler-type effect and hot flame to burn through those pesky Gestapo ropes.

This could also be achieved by inserting matchhead powder into the tube for use as a fire accelerant. By varying the depth that the powder is from the lit end will act like a fuse as long as the tobacco remains lit, allowing for delayed combustion (the closer to the butt the longer the delay). 

Step 4: Stinking Cigarette

This is employed when an adversary wants a smoke, offer the guard one of these and he will be choking from the smell long enough  for you to employ your training to break free from captivity. 

Ever had a hair on your soldering iron? Or scorched your eyebrows off testing petrol ignition? If so you know how that scent lingers.

So for this you need to acquire some hair. Don't want to mess up you new do? Well don't worry, you can use natural paintbrush fibres instead, chop them to short lengths then tie those all together using a piece of thread. 

Push in the cigarette and cover with tobacco.

Give to the guard and wait for the smell to come.

Deliver a quick karate chop to his neck.

Steal his keys.

Escape back to Blighty .

Step 5: Pens and Pencils


Remove the ink tube from a biro or some similar style of ballpoint pen.

Cut it down to about 50mm with your trusty spy scissors.

Take some of the tobacco out the cigarette and push the ink tube in slowly wiggling it as you go.

Top up the cigarette with tobacco until the pen is hidden.


Empty the cigarette's tobacco.

Find a pencil thin enough to fit inside.

Cut it down to around 50mm with a hacksaw (or just sharpen the living graphites out of it!).

And hide it like with the pen.

Step 6: Torch

More of an LED than a torch really, due to the small batteries and resulting short lifespan. 

It can be used for signalling in low-light conditions with morse code.

Various LEDs may be used, a 3mm red LED will give longer use due to its low internal resistance but is less luminous.

The cigarette shown can accommodate button batteries up to AG1 (size used) like AA these are 1.5V each but contain less energy.

For this the electronics cost well under 25p (40c) all that is required is your LED/s and 3 button batteries.

You need:
3mm LED  x1
AG1/AG4 Button cell x3
Electrical tape

Scissors/ knife

Step 7: Fishing Line

Over 5.6m of 0.3mm nylon line can be concealed in the tube.
Once removed this can be used for:
a tripwire,
fishing (You don't say!),
remote actuation - triggering devices, pulling a cup off the table across the room as a distraction
held at neck or face height across a doorway to stun or distract
as a garotte (please don't try this)
security analysis and movement detection - when lightly stuck across the opening of a door, window or briefcase if the device is   opened the line will fall off or come unstuck at one side, alerting the operative to enemy movements and possible tampering, boobytraps or discovery. (Hair could also be used in this application and if discovered is less likely to appear suspicious). Bond used this technique to foil an assassin in Dr No.

Cut out a thin strip of cardboard about 40mm long and fold it in half lengthways.

Now take your fishing line and start wrapping. Keep going, I know you can do it. Stop when the overall thickness gets near to that of the cigarette.

Insert into the hollow cigarette and cover with tobacco.

Step 8: Fake Blood Capsule

Your cover has been blown and the enemy forces are hunting you down, limping and exhausted you realise there is only one thing for it. To fake your own death. Luckily you have at hand your fake blood spy cigarette to create the illusion of a fatal wound.

For the capsule you will need:
Fake blood
1 drinking straw (smaller than the inside of your cigarette)
Hot glue gun
A small piece of cardboard

1. Cut the cardboard into a circle so it fits inside the straw

2. Insert the circle about 5mm, turn on the hot glue gun and fill the remaining 5mm of straw with hot glue. You may need to push against the cardboard with a stick from the otherside to make sure the seal is watertight.

3. Inject around 8mm of hot glue into the other end of the straw, ensuring that the top is wider than the straw. While the glue is still hot push in a small loop of wire. This will form the plug.

4. Cut the plug out of the straw, removing any pieces of plastic and taper the end until you can push it into the straw and make a water tight seal.

5. Put your fake blood mixture into the capsule BUT NO CHUNKS!

6. Replace the seal, dry off and insert into the cigarette coving to with tobacco.

Step 9: Candle

Need a light to inspect those secret documents or some way to gum up that enemy lock? 
Well operative, it's a damn good job that you can find out how to make it down below.

 Candle wax
Thin string
Tin foil

Heat source

First make a candle mould by taking a piece of paper 24mm x 55mm and make it into a circle so that the long sides touch flush to each other and cover in celotape.

Now seal one end of the tube with more tape (try not to squash the tube like I did :D)

Stand the mould upright and put and wick in it (a thin rolled up piece of tissue, a strand of string....that sort of flammable stuff)

Make a little funnel out of tin foil to help guide in the wax.

Find a spoon and put a small amount of wax in it (around 30mm cubed)

Light another candle, lighter or gas burner and hold the spoon above it until the wax melts and becomes translucent.

Pour in the molten wax past the wick into the bottom of the candle and let it fill. Don't worry if it sinks down, the wax will shrink as it cools. 

Now throw it in the fridge for about 30 minutes to set.

Once out the fridge, find the seam line in the paper and carefully peel it away from the wax, trying to to snap the candle.

Empty the cigarette.

Insert the candle into the cigarette and cover with tobacco. Done!

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