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Consumer Alert: Smoking Fuels Fire Fatalities

In 2020, Ohio had 137 fire fatalities with the top cause of all known fire fatalities being smoking-related.  State Fire Marshal’s Fire Prevention data shows around 20% of all fire deaths are related to smoking, most significantly:

  • Smoking while on oxygen.
  • Smoking while tired or medicated.
  • Discarding cigarettes in an unapproved container.

If you smoke or know someone who does, please share these cautions so they don’t become part of this growing statistic.

Never smoke while using medical oxygen. Medical oxygen can saturate clothing causing them to ignite and rapidly burn. Even if the oxygen is turned off, residual oxygen levels can cause your clothing and oxygen tubing to catch fire.

Be alert. Do not smoke after taking medicine that makes you tired. You may fall asleep while smoking or not be able to escape from a fire if you are sleepy or have taken medicine that makes you tired.

Put cigarettes out all the way. Do this every time. Don’t walk away from lit cigarettes and other smoking materials. Put water on the ashes and butts to make sure they are out. Place cigarette butts in a metal container away from structures.

Smoke outside. Many things in your home can catch on fire if they touch something hot like a cigarette or ashes. It is always safer to smoke outside.

Never smoke in bed. Mattresses and bedding can catch on fire easily. Do not smoke in bed because you might fall asleep with a lit cigarette. Also, don’t smoke in bed if you use medical oxygen.

Put your cigarette out in an ashtray or bucket with sand. Use ashtrays with a wide base so they won’t tip over and start a fire.

Fires caused by e-cigarettes are not common, but their consequences can be devastating. 62% of the electronic cigarette explosion and fire incidents occurred when the device was either in a pocket or actively in use.

The State Fire Marshal urges all Ohioans to take action to prevent this No. 1 cause of known fire fatalities from occurring. For more information, visit the Fire Prevention resources on our website.