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Dangers from improperly discarded smoking materials

Smoking materials are the leading cause of fire deaths in the United States. The majority of smoking material related fires that end in injury or death started in the living room or bedroom. As such, people are encouraged to smoke outdoors. However, smoking outdoors also carries the risk of unintentional fires.

Tips for handling cigarettes and other smoking materials:

  • Use deep, sturdy ashtrays and don't discard butts and ashes in flower pots or a bucket;
  • Make sure the smoking material is extinguished all the way before returning inside. It may be necessary to douse the ashtray with water;
  • Before discarding the butts or ashes into the trash can, again check to make sure they are out;
  • Check under furniture cushions and in other places people smoke for cigarette butts that may have fallen out of sight;
  • Keep matches and lighters out of the reach and sight of children;
  • Never smoke in a home where oxygen is being used; and,
  • If you smoke, choose fire-safe cigarettes as they are less likely to cause fires. A fire-safe cigarette has a reduced propensity to burn when left unattended. The most common fire-safe technology used by cigarette manufacturers is to wrap cigarettes with two or three thin bands of less-porous paper that act as "speed bumps" to slow down a burning cigarette. If a fire-safe cigarette is left unattended, the burning tobacco will reach one of these speed bumps and self-extinguish.

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    Department:
    Fire
    Service Categories:
    Fire Education

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