Smoking and Fire Dangers

Integrated Fire SystemsFire & Life Safety Updates

Protect Yourself and Your Environment from Fires Started By Smoking Material

It is common knowledge that cigarettes are poisonous to people’s health and surrounding environments. Not only do cigarettes and other smoking materials increase a smoker’s risk of cancer, stroke, lung disease, and heart disease. They also increase the smoker’s risk of starting a fire and causing environmental devastation.

Home structure fires and wildfires can easily be ignited by the improper use of smoking materials. If you are a smoker it is important that you are always cautious and aware of your surroundings while smoking.

Smoking and Home Fires

Home fires that are started by smoking materials cause a lot of damage. NFPA reports that during 2012-2016 there was a per year average of:

  • $476 million in property damage
  • 18,100 home structure fires
  • 1,130 injuries
  • 590 deaths

According to NFPA between 2012 and 2016 the leading areas where home structure fires start because of smoking materials are:

  • Exterior Balcony or Unenclosed Porch – 18%
  • Bedroom – 15%
  • Living Room – 7%
  • Courtyard, Terrace, or Patio – 6%
  • Exterior Wall Surface – 5%
  • Kitchen or Cooking Area – 5%
  • Garage or Vehicle Storage Area – 4%
  • Bathroom or Lavatory – 4%
  • Exterior Stairs – 4%
  • Trash or Rubbish Chute, Area or Container – 4%
Smoking and Wildfires

NFPA reports that the majority of human caused wildfires are started accidentally. These accidental fires are “related to careless disposal of hot embers, ash or cigarettes”. In the right condition a tossed cigarette can easily ignite brush, grass, or wood.

It is important to remember that these grass and brush fires can start anywhere. Not just in a forest. A carelessly tossed cigarette on a suburban freeway can easily start a brush fire which leads to a wildfire that devastates communities.

Here in California we live in an area where we are in constant danger of a wildfire breaking out. In 2017 the Insurance Information Institute (III) ranked California #1 in all 50 states for being the most prone to wildfires. The III also stated that the 10 most costly wildfire in the US were all in California.

The investigations for some of these fires have proven that a few of them were started by humans. Knowing that we live in such a fire prone state, it is extra important for us to take all of the precautions necessary to protect our land.

Smoking Safety Tips

If you chose to smoke, it is important that you do so as safely as possible. NFPA provides important tips on what you should and should not do if you are a smoker.

You should:

  • Smoke fire-safe cigarettes.
  • Keep cigarettes, lighters, and matches out of reach of children.
  • Use a deep, sturdy ashtray.
  • Always douse butts and ashes in water or sand.

You should not:

  • Smoke inside structures.
  • Throw cigarettes in vegetation like grass, leaves, brush, bushes, moss, or potted plants.
  • Smoke around medical oxygen.
  • Fall asleep while holding a lit cigarette.

-The IFS Team