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Turkey Suffers From Anti-Vape Attitude

Turkey has opposed tobacco harm reduction and consequently is suffering from a spate of cigarette related fires

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Turkey has opposed tobacco harm reduction and consequently is suffering from a spate of cigarette related fires. Figures from the Istanbul Fire Department show that cigarettes were to blame for a stunning explosion in house fires over the first three months of 2021. The experience in the UK is that house fires can be prevented by encouraging smokers to switch to vaping.

2,617 incidents took place in Istanbul from January to March according to the Istanbul Fire Department. The report it has produced says that 39.4% of these were due to carelessly discarded cigarettes that were still lit.

Turkish experts have suggested that residents should stop smoking in bed or while sitting on settees – but remain tight lipped about switching to vaping to reduce the potential for disaster.

It is not illegal to vape in Turkey, but the country has made it as difficult as possible to choose to switch. The country has banned the importation and sale of vapes and e-liquids. It acted because it claimed it needed to curb the booming home market in harm reduction.

Turkey and the Istanbul Fire Department could do a lot worse than to look at the experience of the United Kingdom and the experience of the London Fire Brigade.

The London Fire Brigade recognised that the danger posed by burning cigarettes causing house fires could be dramatically reduced if everyone switched to vaping and became a staunch advocate for electronic cigarettes back in 2018.

It studied figures over a five-year period and found that London experienced 22 fires a week linked to burning tobacco, 300 times the rate of fires caused by poorly charged or damaged vape devices concluding that smoking had caused 5,978 fires in London, leading to 416 injuries and resulting in 76 deaths.

Assistant Commissioner for Fire Safety Dan Daly said: “So many of these deaths and injuries could have been prevented either stopping smoking or by switching to vaping. 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 – 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.

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.”

The London Fire Brigade’s 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

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Dave Cross avatar

Dave Cross

Journalist at POTV
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Dave is a freelance writer; with articles on music, motorbikes, football, pop-science, vaping and tobacco harm reduction in Sounds, Melody Maker, UBG, AWoL, Bike, When Saturday Comes, Vape News Magazine, and syndicated across the Johnston Press group. He was published in an anthology of “Greatest Football Writing”, but still believes this was a mistake. Dave contributes sketches to comedy shows and used to co-host a radio sketch show. He’s worked with numerous vape companies to develop content for their websites.

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