Smoking Related Fires: Unattended Smoking Materials Attribute to Natural Disasters, Civilian Deaths, and Injury Each Year
Smoking does not just cause health problems.
There are other cigarette dangers that go beyond the the obvious. They are a known fire hazard as well.
Fires caused by cigarette smoking are disastrous because an unattended cigarette can destroy an unknown number of lives directly and indirectly … and in an instant.
Statistics on Fires Related to Cigarette Smoking
Smoking accounts for more than 23,000 residential fires in a year nationwide. That’s why some insurance companies offer to reduce premiums if all the residents in the house do not smoke.
Insurance breaks for households where the occupants don’t smoke is probably one of the major reasons why smoking is no longer allowed inside or on the grounds of most work places hotels, restaurants, and pubs.
FACT: Smoking materials (i.e., cigarettes, cigars, pipes, etc.) are the leading cause of fire deaths in the United States. Roughly one of every four fire deaths in 2007 was attributed to smoking materials.
In 2007, there were an estimated 140,700 smoking-material fires in the United States. These fires caused 720 civilian deaths and 1,580 civilian injuries.
More fatal smoking-material fires start in bedrooms than in living rooms, family rooms and dens.
Older adults are at the highest risk of death or injury from smoking-material fires even though they are less likely to smoke than younger adults.
The most common items first ignited in home smoking-material fire deaths were upholstered furniture, mattresses and bedding.
Worldwide the loss of material goods and real estate is in the billions of dollars.
Who Do Fires Caused by Cigarette Smoking Hurt the Most?
Young children are the most vulnerable because their inquisitiveness and thirst for knowledge make them easy targets for experimentation with things they do not quite understand.
Toddlers crawl from pillar to post putting things in their mouths like lighters, cigarettes (new and used) and pipes. They are only imitating what they see their adult mentors do on a daily basis.
And while your impression is that the toddler will not be able to light that cigarette — smoke that pipe — or knock over that ashtray — while you are out of the room, major fire disasters can erupt. For example: You are in the kitchen cooking dinner while you think little Johnny is in his bed taking nap and…
Injury to Adults and Seniors
Adults to seniors, although on the opposite end of the spectrum of young children, fair no better because they can get careless and nod off to sleep, dropping that lit cigarette on a mattress, sofa, or carpet. Smoke inhalation is such a powerful thing that it can keep you asleep longer and deeper than that well known brand of sleeping pill.
The Other Loss
We must also mention those who are left grieving for their lost loved one. We must also mention the family that survived the fire is left behind to grieve for the loved ones they lost. They’re still trying to understand how something so small as a cigarette could have caused so much damage.
And then there is the neighbor, tired after a 10 hour work day. She arrives home while on the way thinking about a nice hot bath and a good night’s sleep to learn that she is suddenly homeless. The cigarette smoker next door may have caused a fire that consumed everything she owned other than the clothes on her back and the shoes on her feet.
Consider the Risk, Consider the Disaster
Cigarettes are the number one cause of house fire fatalities. And we haven’t even mentioned outdoor fires causes by careless smokers.
Fires caused by cigarettes result in around eight-hundred plus deaths each year. These fires usually occur when a smoker falls asleep without extinguishing a cigarette.
House fires from unattended cigarettes generally occurs at night, when the whole family is asleep, which can make it difficult for everyone to evacuate in time.
If you or another family member has a tobacco habit, make sure that no one ever smokes in bed.
As of March 2010, all 50 US states passed legislation and achieved their goal in getting cigarette manufacturers to produce only cigarettes that adhere to an established safety performance standard.
If you do smoke think about others. Stay alert and only smoke outside away from non smokers (and dispose of the butts properly). It is better for your family’s health and this one action will reduce the risk of a house fire.
Or better yet, don’t smoke at all and relieve everyone around you from an unnecessary potential disaster.
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