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Last updated: 02/10/2018, 4:16 PM

STOPTOBER: Firefighters urge smokers to vape to prevent fires

02/10/2018 15:50
Safety warnings

New figures released today by the London Fire Brigade show that smokers are 266 times more likely to have a fire than those who vape.

Since 2014 there have been around 6000 fires caused by smoking materials, such as cigarettes and matches, but only 22 fires caused by e-cigarettes.

Smoking: Number one cause of fatal fires

In London, smoking is the number one cause of fatal fires and one of the top three causes of all accidental fires in the home. There are around four smoking related fires a day, with three people being injured each week. On average at least one person every month dies in a smoking related fire.

The Brigade’s figures show that in London since 2014:

  • There have been 5950 smoking related fires
  • 68 people died in smoking related fires
  • 698 people were injured in smoking related fires
  • In 2017 the number of people injured in smoking related fires was 150 – the highest number in five years

Smokers urged to vape

Such is the concern about smoking related fires that fire chiefs are now urging smokers to take up vaping to reduce the risk. The Brigade’s warning comes during Stoptober, a Public Health England campaign which encourages people to stop smoking for 28 days in a bid to quit for good.

Chris O’Connor, the Brigade’s Head of Community Safety, said:

“Our message is simple: quit smoking or risk dying in a fire. Firstly, we would urge you to stop smoking completely but fully appreciate that this is your decision. If you still need that nicotine fix, vaping is a much safer alternative. Hundreds of people are injured in smoking related fires each year but we’ve not had any reports of injuries or deaths caused by e-cigarettes.

“Vaping isn’t completely risk-free from either a fire or health perspective and we would urge you to always use the correct charger, ensure your batteries are not damaged and not to charge e-cigarettes over night or when you’re out of the house.

“With smoking, one of the biggest mistakes people make is falling asleep with lit cigarettes, or they fail to dispose of cigarettes or matches properly, which can smoulder and cause fires.”

Health service recommends vaping

The Brigade’s advice is in line with Public Health England’s, which also recommends e-cigarettes as one of the several aides to giving up smoking. Public Health England  advises smokers to access the support of local smoking cessation services as well as using e-cigarettes as the most effective means of kicking the tobacco smoking habit.

Visit our electric safety advice page for more information about using chargers and other electrical appliances safely.

The Brigade also offers free home fire safety visits where firefighters visit people at home to provide fire safety advice. They will also fit free smoke alarms where needed. You can book a visit on the Brigade’s website.