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Cigarettes/Smoking Materials Fires
Cigarettes may be small but they have the potential to cause BIG problems.

Did You Know?
  • Smoking is a leading cause of residential fire deaths in Oregon, even though 83% of Oregonians do not smoke.*
  • One out of every five deaths caused by cigarette fires involves smoking while using medical oxygen.*
  • Seventy-two percent (72%) of cigarette fires on home properties began outside from improperly disposed of smoking materials.*
  • One-in-four people killed in home fires is not the smoker whose cigarette caused the fire.**
    • More than one-third were children of the smokers.
    • Twenty-five percent were neighbors or friends of the smokers.

"Fire-Safe" Cigarettes
The Coalition for Fire Safe Cigarettes was successful in requiring cigarette manufacturers to use fire-safe technology for their products sold in the United States. The most common fire-safe technology used by cigarette manufacturers is to wrap cigarettes with two or three thin bands of less-porous paper that act as “speed bumps” to slow down a burning cigarette. If a fire-safe cigarette is left unattended, the burning tobacco will reach one of these speed bumps and self-extinguish. However, if a fire-safe cigarette is left burning in an ashtray that is piled up with butts, the contents of the ashtray can combust and begin a fire. In addition, if a fire-safe cigarette is not properly extinguished, tossed into landscaping materials or the roadway, it may burn long enough to ignite the contents around it. It is also important to point out that cigars and pipe material are not "fire-safe" and can cause fires too.

Disposing of Smoking Materials Properly
  • Don’t put cigarettes out in landscaping or potted plants. Potting soil is an organic material and has the potential to ignite.
  • The best option for ensuring complete extinguishment of smoking materials is to smother them with water in a metal container. 
  • Don't let cigarette butts pile up - the materials are combustible and may smolder for several hours before causing a fire.
  • Don't toss your smoking materials out on the roadway or into landscaping.
  • Don't smoke while drowsy or sleepy.

Please watch this time-lapsed video from the National Fire Protection Association on how quickly a smoldering cigarette can cause a major fire.

*"Oregon Fire Fatality Review 2005-2009," Oregon State Fire Marshal's Office, April 2011.
** US Fire Administration