London Fire Brigade

Fire chiefs issue urgent warning over latest alcohol inhaling trend

06 March 2014

London Fire Brigade has expressed grave fire safety concerns over a new craze to light alcohol above a tea light and inhale the vapour.

The Vaportini comes with a glass sphere which sits above a lit tea light in a pint glass. It claims ‘almost no calories; no carbs, no impurities and the effects of consuming alcohol’ but  no safety warnings are apparent on the Vaportini website.

The Brigade believes that heating alcohol in this way could increase the risk of someone having a serious fire which could destroy their home or, even worse, kill them.

Firefighters are reminding people that drinking and naked flames don’t mix and that one in four people who die in a fire has alcohol in their system.   

The Brigade’s figures show that:

• Two fires a day happen after Londoners have been drinking.
• One in four people who die in a fire has alcohol in their system.
• Three quarters of alcohol related fires are caused by cooking under the influence.
• Over half of these fires happen because someone has fallen asleep.

Vaportini  is expected to be the summer craze among 18-35 year olds, with the product set to be available in up-market bars and festivals across the country. Young, well-educated, professionals cause more than a quarter of all accidental house fires in the capital, with being under the influence being a contributing factor.

The figures show that young professionals had 1,515 house fires last year and the Brigade is concerned that this figure could rise if the Vaportini craze takes off.

London Fire Brigade Group Manager Mark Hazelton said:

“Any product which encourages people to light candles when consuming alcohol is a concern to us.

“We don’t want to sound like killjoys, but products like the Vaportini could lead to a worrying rise in the number of people being burned and causing fires while drunk.”

The Brigade has issued the following safety advice for candles:

• Candles need to be used in a safe, fire resistant holder or container 
• Candles need to be supervised at all times – so blow them out if you need to leave the room.
• Don’t cover candles with anything – anything placed over a candle flame will get very hot, and could melt or catch fire.

Fire chiefs are also concerned that people might not realise that inhaling alcohol increases the blood alcohol content in the same way that drinking it does. The Brigade said that it is not safe to drive after inhaling alcohol in this way.

Notes to editors

For further advice on safety using candles, check out the London Fire Brigade website.

This is a reduction of nearly two fires a week compared to 2009, when the Brigade set up its @londonfire Twitter account and official Facebook page. With over 66,000 followers on both Twitter and Facebook, the Brigade is able to share vital fire safety advice with millions of people and believes this is to thank for the drop in blazes amongst this target audience.