More people die in fires started by carelessly discarded or abandoned smoking materials such as cigarette butts and cigarette ashes than any other type of residential fire. Fires caused by smoking materials often smolder, sometimes for hours before the first flame. For most people who died in residential smoking fires, escape was made more difficult because they were asleep. The most common materials to first ignite are mattresses and bedding, followed by trash and upholstered furniture.
The risk of dying in a residential fire caused by smoking materials increases with age.
Over 40% of fatal smoking material fire victims were age 65 or older, compared to their 13% share of the population.
Smokers are seven times more likely than nonsmokers to have a fire in their home.
If you are a smoker, take precautions to ensure the safety of you and your family.
Smoking Safety Check List
If you or anyone in your home smokes, make your home safer:
- Use large deep ashtrays and check them frequently.
- After entertaining in your home always check on, between and under upholstery and cushions and inside trash cans for cigarette butts that may be smoldering.
- Completely douse cigarette butts with water before discarding.
- Don’t smoke in bed or lying down, especially if your drowsy, medicated or have been drinking alcohol.
- Consider additional smoke alarms in your home specifically a photoelectric type, which is the most reliable for soldering type fires.
Matches, Lighters, and Children
Children are attracted to matches and lighters, making them a special fire risk.
- Keep matches and lighters up high and out of sight and reach of children.
- When smokers visit your home, ask them to keep their smoking materials with them so young children do not touch them.