Would it damage to put out cigarettes on the chassis of aluminum mac books?

  • 6
    Why would you spend the money on a Mac Book and put cigarettes out on it? Seems like a troll question.
    – Henry F
    Feb 19, 2014 at 0:31
  • 9
    Macbook Pro: $1999. Pack of cigarettes: $6. Look on people's faces: priceless
    – Dennis
    Feb 19, 2014 at 3:56
  • 3
    Would have loved to see the expression on Steve Jobs face if he read this question
    – Firee
    Feb 19, 2014 at 12:42
  • 3
    No, I'm pretty sure cigarettes are designed to be impervious to damage caused by contact with aluminum. The only likely harm will be that it may get extinguished.
    – Jaydles
    Feb 19, 2014 at 16:38
  • How does a question like this contribute to anything on this site?
    – pufferfish
    Feb 19, 2014 at 23:04

6 Answers 6


I would say that the only damage caused by a cigarette to the aluminum itself would be cosmetic.

Clearly, the pebbled surface will trap nicotine and ash on the Aluminum. I suspect that Apple anodizes their unibody parts - and if so, that creates a hard, durable layer of aluminum oxide that protects the metal from scratches, stains, and further oxidation

I also expect that action would drive most neat freaks up the proverbial wall, but from a chemical and heat aspect - a single lit cigarette doesn't have enough heat to do any damage. It would slightly warm up a small area of the case but do no harm to the insides. Also, I've seen solid aluminum ashtrays in use for tens of years in harsh environments with no real pitting or permanent damage to them. An internet search for "milled aluminum ashtray" or "milled aluminum engine block" will show that aluminum (and aluminum alloys) can stand up to substantial heat in diverse settings.

I would be more concerned at the smoke, tar, nicotine getting inside the display and the Mac, corroding the circuit boards, covering contacts in ports and clogging the blowers over time.

  • Tacky, messy, provoke a reaction in others? - yes
  • Damage the aluminum surface? - not so much
  • 4
    Useless banter: Aluminum engines blocks have cast iron sleeves for the cylinder liners, and chrome molly (or similar) inserts for all hydrostatic bearings. Engines rarely get above 200ºC anywhere but the exhaust system, which is commonly aluminized steel, but not solid aluminum or an alloy. In any case, aluminum can certainly hold up to the heat of a cigarette being extinguished. On technicality, cigarettes could burn at up to 800ºC, hot enough to melt plain aluminum (660ºC), but that would need highly specific conditions, not found in the "real world".
    – Chris S
    Feb 18, 2014 at 19:17
  • 4
    @ChrisS Totally correct. With aluminum's ability to conduct heat - you would likely need a point source far hotter than 1000ºC to begin to melt the case. Perhaps we should all lobby myth busters to address this lack of empirical evidence on heat tolerance of the alloy Apple uses? Also Adam Davis suggested that Apple anodizes the case, so I've added that which would make it even more inert if so.
    – bmike
    Feb 18, 2014 at 19:42
  • I'm not sure these days because my current MBP hasn't aged enough to see peeling, but my previous computer was a pre-unibody Mac Book Pro and it was painted silver, not (or if so, after being) anodized.
    – dwightk
    Mar 7, 2014 at 20:23

Yes, your cigarette will be irreparably damaged. You will have to replace it with a new one.

  • 10
    Lol - the damage is foremost to the human, then to the cigarette, lastly to the case. :-)
    – bmike
    Feb 18, 2014 at 15:23

The short answer is 'yes,' it will damage the aluminum. The burning cigarette will accelerate the rate of oxidation. Maybe not one cigarette will make a noticeable mark, but given repeated exposure, you would see a difference.

  • This begs the question, how many cigarettes would it take to damage the unibody.
    – bmike
    Mar 14, 2014 at 12:58

Depends on how soon after lighting you put it out. If you put it out before sticking it in your mouth and inhaling then overall there will be very little meaningful damage


Yes, you can. But the aluminum surface will very likely be stained and contaminated due to the tar and ash getting lodged in the microscopic surface features. This may not be perceptible after an intense cleaning but a thorough cleaning might do actual damage to the surface. In all, this is a bad idea-- like cracking an egg on the hood of your car in the desert to prove that it will cook. Your paint job will never be the same until it is completely redone, and aluminum isn't removable the way paint is.


Can I put out a cigarette on aluminum Mac Books?

No, it is simply not possible. Apple only ever released Macbooks in plastic and polycarbonate models. While Apple did announce in October of 2008 an all aluminum MacBook model, the updated line of unibody MacBooks were rebranded as MacBook Pro on 8 June 2009 at Apple's 2009 Worldwide Developers Conference.


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