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I heard there's a common saying in Russia that says something like "even a police won't take the last cigarette"

is this true? and if it is, what is the exact phrase?

  • Never heard such a saying. And even Russian Corpus does not have anything saying-like about 'последняя сигарета' or 'последняя папироса'. – Artemix Jul 29 '16 at 15:39
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    if a Russian person would bum a smoke from you, they would most probably refuse to take the last one from the pack (you might not be aware of it when you offer the cigarette and they won't leave you without any smoke, at least not without giving a warning with that very phrase). If you still insist on giving the last smoke in the pack, you should close the pack and give it to them closed. – Quassnoi Jul 29 '16 at 21:56
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    You may easily abstract that to "even a <derogative> won't take the last cigarette". What's considered a derogative depends on a speaker. – polkovnikov.ph Aug 1 '16 at 17:03
  • Also it's common to hear a tongue-in-cheek answer "на здоровье" for "спасибо" from the man who took a cigarette. It's supposed to be "благодарю". I'm unsure of etymology of these customs, but I'm afraid they've got common in prisons first. – polkovnikov.ph Aug 1 '16 at 17:07
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There is such saying, the exact phrase is "последнюю даже мент не возьмет". Cigarettes aren't mentioned, but the phrase is not used about anything else or in a metaphorical meaning.

If a person asks you for a cigarette, and you offer him one, but he sees that it's last cigarette in a box, then he would probably say this phrase.

It is more of a "common answer" than a simile, idiom or anything, that's why you won't find it in a dictionary of any kind, but it really is rather common.

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    Never heard it before, but just read that it's a kind of ill omen. – V.V. Jul 29 '16 at 18:51
  • A friend of mine used "последнюю и вор не возьмет". – bereal Jul 31 '16 at 18:29

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