LFB highlights that, in the last five years, there’s been around 22 fires each week directly linked to tobacco cigarettes. This is 300 times the rate of fires caused by poorly charged or damaged vape devices. It says that smoking has caused 5,978 fires in London, leading to 416 injuries and resulting in 76 deaths.
“So many of these deaths and injuries could have been prevented either stopping smoking or by switching to vaping,” said Assistant Commissioner for Fire Safety Dan Daly. “We would rather people didn’t smoke at all but if they do, vaping is a safer option.”
“There is a common misconception that vapes are a fire risk but the reality is they have caused a very small number of fires. Smoking on the other hand is a killer” - Dan Daly
“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.”
LFB advises people to look for signs that a friend or relation who smokes might be struggling. It points out that fires can result from people being old, infirmed, or suffering from a drink or drug dependency.
Daly went on to add: “Burn marks on carpets, furniture, clothing and bedding are often the first obvious signs that someone could be at risk of a smoking related fire. We would urge anyone in contact with smokers who notice these telltale signs or has any concerns to request a Home Fire Safety Visit from London Fire Brigade and visit our website for practical advice on how to reduce fire risk.”
6.3% of all fires are smoking-related & 26.1% of fire deaths are smoking-related
The Brigade offers advice on its website, where it says: “For smokers who aren't ready to quit yet, e-cigarettes (vapes) 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.”
The LFB offers simple advice to new vapers:
- Only use the battery and charger provided with the e-cigarette.
- Avoid leaving vapes on charge overnight.
- Never use a damaged e-cigarette.
- Never vape close to medical oxygen.