Smoking Takes Lives

Sitting in your favorite chair and having a cigarette after dinner seems to some like a great way to relax for some, but cigarettes and relaxing can be a deadly mix. Aside from the known dangers of smoking, falling asleep while smoking can ignite clothing, rugs, and materials used in upholstered furniture. Using alcohol and medications that make you sleepy compounds this hazard.

Careless smoking is the leading cause of fire deaths and the 2nd leading cause of injuries among people ages 65 and older. Cigarettes continue to burn when they are not properly extinguished. When a resting cigarette is accidentally knocked over, it can smolder for hours before a flare-up occurs.

Things to Know Before You Light Your Next Cigarette

  • Never smoke in bed. 
  • Replace mattresses made prior to the 1973 Federal Mattress Flammability Standard.
  • Don't put ashtrays on the arms of sofas or chairs.
  • Use large ashtrays with wide lips. While smaller ashtrays may be more attractive, they are not safe. Cigarettes can roll off the edge, and ashes can easily be blown away.
  • Empty ashtrays into the toilet or an airtight metal container. Warm ashes dumped in waste cans can smolder for hours, then ignite.
  • Don't leave cigarettes, cigars, or pipes unattended.
  • Put out all smoking materials before you walk away.
  • If you begin to feel drowsy while watching television or reading, extinguish your cigarette or cigar.
  • Close a matchbook before striking and hold it away from your body. Set your cigarette lighter on "low" flame to prevent burns.
  • If friends or relatives who smoke have visited, be sure to check on the floor and around chair cushions for ashes that may have been dropped accidentally.
  • In case of a fire, stay low to the ground, beneath the smoke, and have an escape plan already worked out.
  • Install a smoke alarm on every level of your home. Test the batteries every month and change them at least once a year.