Generation Xers accounted for half of all the people that died in smoking related fires and a third of injuries, according to new data from London Fire Brigade.
Five out of the 10 smoking related fire deaths in London last year were recorded as Londoners aged 40 to 59. The age group also had the highest number of smoking related fire injuries with 39 out of 122 in 2019.
The new figures have been released to coincide with national No Smoking Day and the Brigade is urging Generation X smokers to either switch to vaping or better still stop smoking altogether to avoid the risk of being hurt in a smoking related fire.
In the last five years, there have been an average of 24 fires every week linked to smoking. Between 2015 and 2019, there have been 6,337 fires in London linked to smoking, 728 people have been injured and a total of 69 people have died.
Dan Daly, the Brigade’s Assistant Commissioner for Fire Safety, said: “Historically the long term trend has seen the majority of smoking related deaths in the elderly so it is shocking to see a younger generation appear so prominently in the recent statistics.
"We would rather people didn’t smoke at all but if they do, vaping has a much lower fire risk 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 damaged or broken or the charger is faulty or a cheap untested replacement charger. Smoking on the other hand is a killer.
Although four times as many people smoke as they do vape, there were almost 300 times more smoking related fires in London than those caused by e-cigarettes in the last five years.
Vapers are also urged to take extra care and not leave their e-cigarettes on charge while they are not at home or asleep, ensure they always use the correct charger and never charge an e-cigarette if it’s damaged.