In August 2012, Green revealed details regarding the cover design of Looking for Alaska. Green acknowledged that the extinguished candle on the cover leads to "an improbable amount of smoke", and explained that the initial cover design did not feature the candle. Green said that certain book chains were uncomfortable with displaying or selling a book with a cover that featured cigarette smoke, so the candle was added beneath the smoke.
In John Green's box set, released on October 25, 2012, the candle has been removed from the cover. Further paperback releases of the book also have the candle removed.