The material used in potting soil, such as sod or peat moss, is flammable. Putting a cigarette or any other smoker's material out in soil can easily cause a fire.
Four or five hours may pass between the time when a cigarette is put out and the first flame appears, which can then spread to a patio, a balcony or even your home.
These incidents can easily be avoided, however. If you need to put out a cigarette outside, use an ashtray that is protected from the wind and that has been placed on a stable service. You can also use a jelly jar that is deep enough to fill with wet sand or water.
In summer, make sure to keep soil moist, especially during extreme heat events.