Cigarettes/Smoking Materials Fires

Cigarettes may be small, but 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.*
  • 1 out of every 5 deaths caused by cigarette fires involves smoking while using medical oxygen.*
  • 72% of cigarette fires on home properties began on the 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.
    • 25% were neighbors or friends.

Disposing of Smoking Materials Properly

  • Don’t extinguish cigarettes in landscaping or potted plants. Potting soil is an organic material and has the potential to ignite.
  • The best option for complete extinguishment is to smother smoking materials 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 smoking materials out on the roadway or into landscaping.
  • Don't smoke while drowsy or sleepy.

"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 the landscape 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.

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

** US Fire Administration