Causes & Prevention
Smoking - Kick This Fire Risk
More people die in fires started by smoking materials than in any other type of fire. These fires start when lighted tobacco products, most often cigarettes, are improperly discarded or abandoned and ignite mattresses, bedding, upholstered furniture, trash and other combustible items.
Why Smoking Fires Are So Dangerous
For most people who died in residential smoking fires, escape was made more difficult because they were either:
- Slowed by alcohol or medication.
- Challenged by physical, sensory or cognitive problems.
Some of the materials most commonly ignited in smoking fires are mattresses or bedding and upholstered furniture. In these cases, the close proximity of the person to the fire reduces his or her ability to extinguish or escape a fire before being overcome.
Smoking Fires and Older Adults
As people age, their risk of injury or death in home fires caused by smoking rises.
|Percentage of Fire Injuries||Percentage of Fire Deaths|
|Older Adults (65+)||21%||34%|
This increased risk is due, in part, to age-related changes that can make escaping a fire more difficult.
Matches, Lighters and Children
Matches and lighters are attractive to children and that makes them a special fire risk. Consider these statistics:
Of all the home fires caused by child play, nearly 71% are caused by children playing with matches or lighters.
These fires cause the most fire deaths in children under the age of 5.
In most cases, these children were playing with matches or lighters alone in their bedrooms.
Prevent Smoking Fires in Your Home
Smoking in the home puts everyone at risk. Adopt these Fire Sense behaviors to minimize the risk of fires caused by smoking materials, matches, and lighters:
If you smoke, consider quitting smoking or refraining from smoking in your home, and do not allow others to smoke in your home.
Never smoke in bed, when sleepy or when you have used medications or alcohol that could make you drowsy.
Use large, heavy, non-tip ashtrays.
Extinguish smoking materials thoroughly to prevent butts and ashes from igniting other materials, and douse smoking materials under water.
Use child-resistant lighters, and keep matches and lighters out of the reach of children.
More people die in fires started by smoking materials than in any other type of fire.