Switching from tobacco to vaping can greatly reduce the risk of dying in a fire according to London Fire Brigade figures. While cigarettes remain the biggest of cause of fatal fires there have been no recorded deaths or injuries as a result of vaping or e-cigarette fires.
On World Health Day (Friday 7 April), fire chiefs are advising smokers to quit altogether but concede that vaping holds fewer fire risks than cigarettes butts, ash, lighters and matches.
In the past three years in London, the Brigade has recorded only 14 e-cigarette fires compared to just over 3500 smoking related fires - that’s 255 times more blazes caused by tobacco smoking and unsafe disposal of smoking materials. Smoking remains the third largest cause of accidental dwelling fires for the past five years in the capital but the single largest cause of death according to the Brigade’s data.
London Fire Brigade’s Assistant Commissioner, Dan Daly, said: “Our preference is that you stop smoking altogether but if you must smoke, vaping holds fewer fire risks than cigarettes as butts, ash and matches are often carelessly discarded which can lead to fires.
In terms of general fire risk, e-cigarettes do present a safer option than ordinary cigarettes but remember, just like a phone or laptop, if you use the wrong power source to charge it, this can also cause a fire.
“We’re strongly advising people to not smoke at all as the statistics speak for themselves, the health impact of smoking is well-documented but many people don’t realise that smoking is also the largest cause of fatal fires.”
For people who choose to vape the Brigade has issued the following advice to avoid a fire in the home:
- Only use the battery and charger that’s provided with the e-cigarette and buy them from a reputable vendor
- Keep e-cigarettes away from heat sources and uncovered while charging
- Users are reminded to never use a damaged e-cigarette and never leave them on charge while they are away from the house or left to charge overnight while they are asleep
- Never use e-cigarettes close to medical oxygen because of the danger of ignition.
- Damaged or old batteries need to be replaced because this can lead to a fire caused by a short circuit, overheating or mechanical damage.
- Don’t leave batteries in your car, or in your pocket with loose change or keys; always use an approved case.