By now, most of us are aware of all the health dangers posed by smoking cigarettes. Heart and lung disease, various types of cancer, stroke – there are almost too many ways that smoking can harm your body to even remember. There’s one deadly side effect that you might never have considered, despite the fact that it causes hundreds of deaths and thousands of injuries per year – fire.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, fires that involve smoking materials cause close to 1,000 deaths and 3,000 injuries in the United States every year and are responsible for an estimated 10% of global fire deaths. “Smoking materials” are lighted tobacco products, not including implements such as matches and lighters.
Cigarette fires have actually declined since 2003, largely because all U.S. states now have requirements that cigarettes have reduced ignition strength. This is referred to by a variety of names, including fire safe cigarettes (FSC), lower ignition propensity (LIP), reduced fire risk (RFR), self-extinguishing, fire safe or reduced ignition propensity (RIP) cigarettes. These cigarettes have been designed to self-extinguish when left unattended. They can be made either by altering the properties of the wrapping paper, decreasing the thickness and/or density of the cigarette, and applying thin, concentric extinguishing bands to the cigarette paper. These bands are the most popular method among manufacturers, and they act as sort of speed bumps that the fire has to pass. Just like you’ll roll to a stop if you don’t accelerate a bit over a speed bump, the fire will be extinguished if no one inhales. In the U.S., fire safe cigarettes have FSC printed above the barcode, indicating that they are fire standards compliant.
If you smoke, make sure that you’re using fire safe cigarettes. Keep your smoking restricted to the outside. Most cigarette fires begin in living rooms and bedrooms, because people will fall asleep holding a lit cigarette. Keep your cigarettes, lighters, matches, and other smoking materials somewhere high and/or locked so that children can’t get ahold of them and accidentally start a fire. When you put out a cigarette, use an ashtray. Don’t throw it into your yard or any vegetation, especially things like dry leaves and grasses that can ignite easily. Before you throw the cigarette butt into a trash can, make certain it’s out by dousing it with water or sand. Never smoke cigarettes around someone who is using medical oxygen. Pure oxygen is extremely flammable, and it can build up in the home and on the hair, clothes, and body of the patient.
Electronic cigarettes have also been implicated in fires. It’s possible for the batteries to fail, leading to small explosions. This can happen while the battery is charging and even while the device is in use.
If you or a loved one need help with quitting drugs or alcohol, consider Asana Recovery. We offer medical detox, along with both residential and outpatient programs, and you’ll be supervised by a highly trained staff of medical professionals, counselors, and therapists. Call us any time at (949) 438-4504 to get started.