Switching from smoking to vaping offers benefits other than improving your health. Fire services across the UK say that it also decreases the number of fires in homes. From the London Fire Service to the one in Dorset, the message is the same: switching to electronic cigarettes reduces the number of cigarette-related shouts.
Is smoking a cause of home fires?
Smoking is the number one cause of home fires that tragically end in fatalities. This is the main reason fire services have been calling for smokers to quit the habit for decades.
Do you have an example?
Yes. The Dorset Fire Service recently said that matches, lighters, cigarette papers and lit cigarettes have been the “top factor” linked to home fire death rates.
“The best way to prevent such fires is to stop smoking. If you’re caring for someone who smokes – start by encouraging them to quit,” they have stated.
It added that there are other measures people can take which included making sure smoke alarms were fitted and working in the house, that they get frequently tested, and linked to a personal alarm system if one is in place.
But what has this got to do with electronic cigarettes?
The Department of Communities and Local Government produced a document analysing the risks and found that 2,673 smoking related fires caused the deaths of 84 people in 2012.
This coincided with vaping becoming a force in driving smokers to success with their quit attempts, and the report noted that the rate of household fires and deaths was substantially lower.
Immediately, fire services saw the potential for vaping to save lives – just not in the way tobacco harm reduction advocates had been saying.
So, what was said?
The Assistant Commissioner for Fire Safety in London spoke about the potential when he commented: “So many of these deaths and injuries could have been prevented either stopping smoking or by switching to vaping. We would rather people didn’t smoke at all but if they do, vaping is a safer option.
But haven’t some vapes started fires too?
The Assistant Commissioner added: “There is a common misconception that vapes are a fire risk but the reality is they have caused a very small number of fires – normally because the device is broken or it’s being charged by a faulty charger.
“Smoking on the other hand is a killer. Common causes of smoking related fires are people falling asleep while smoking or discarding cigarette butts or matches that have not been properly extinguished.”
“For smokers who aren’t ready to quit yet, e-cigarettes are a better option from a fire safety perspective. Dropping a vape on a carpet, duvet or armchair won’t start a fire. So, if quitting completely isn’t on the cards, it’s a simple swap that can save lives.”