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Stoptober: be safer with your cigarettes

It’s Stoptober and everyone’s busy evaluating the health risks of cigarettes. However shocking statistics highlight another pressing area of concern – fire safety. If you’re not planning on kicking the habit this year, here are a few fire safety tips to consider when you next light up.

The facts

  • Home fires caused by cigarettes result in more deaths than any other type of fire
  • In 2011 – 2012, smoking materials was the 2nd largest source of ignition in house fires, topped only by cooking appliances
  • In the US (2006 to 2010), in 13% of fires that lead to death, a mattress or piece of bedding was the first item ignited – don’t smoke in bed!
  • In Scotland, smoking materials and matches were the source of ignition in 35% of workplace fires
  • Cigarettes burn at 700oC and can easily set fire to combustible materials

Tips for smoking safely in the home

1. Never smoke in bed Never smoke when you are sleepy or when you are in bed as there is a greater likelihood that you will fall asleep with a lit cigarette. If you do fall asleep with a lit cigarette, you definitely don’t want to be on a highly flammable mattress or duvet! 2. Use a proper ash tray A proper ash tray is one designed for the purpose – not a makeshift one! It’s important that it is placed on a steady surface, where it work tip over easily. Before emptying to contents of your ash tray into the bin, add a drop of water to the ash then leave the mixture to cool down. 3. Take extra care if you’ve been drinking and taking medication Both smoking while drinking alcohol, and lighting up in bed, leads to 1 in 3 of all fatal accidental house fires. Take extra care if you’re taking medication or if you’ve been drinking; your motor skills may be affected and an accident will be more likely to occur.

Tips for smoking safely at work

Smoking indoors has been banned in all UK workplaces since July 2007, but still there are some risks. Lit Cigarette 1. Stay within the designated area Most workplaces will have a designated smokers’ area. Smoke in this area, away from any materials that could be ignited. 2. Dispose of you cigarette safely Dispose of your cigarettes in a provided ash tray. Don’t ever throw them into a bin or toss them over a fence – you never know where they’ll land or what they could ignite. photo credit: SchuminWeb via photopin cc

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