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Is Vaping Responsible for a Reduction in House Fires?

Thu 7 Dec 2017




A relatively unpublicised benefit of vaping has been highlighted by our heroic fire and rescue service. Alongside the health and financial perks that vaping returns above smoking, is the often forgotten lowered fire risk. Not only are you less likely to be burnt or burn your belongings, vaping is of course a factor in reducing deaths caused from house fires. There are over 1000 fires year on year caused by negligently discarded cigarettes, resulting in scores of deaths. The number of fires caused e-cigarettes is in a significantly smaller ball park, and statistically even less than mobile phones, although perhaps helped by Samsung a little there!


Sure, there have been some horror stories of them exploding in a pocket, and in a heightened time of tension even mistaken for some sort of terrorism attempt. But the fire brigade has given their expert analysis which will add to the growing support for vaping and smoking cessation. The London Fire Service report that over half of all fire deaths in the home are as a result of smoking (surprisingly more than kitchen fires), and that for every one fire caused by an e-cigarette there are 255 smoking related fires.

There is a mentality in this country to some degree of “if it saves one life…” when it comes to speed limits, salt reduction, health and safety legislation, drug trials and much more. Promotional aspects for vaping are ever growing in this regard, and this is one of many. Health, productivity at work (whether allowed in the workplace or where vapers spend less time outside than smokers), more spare cash, less social stigma and now evidence of less fires.
Let’s be honest, despite this, we hear more about popcorn lung (a far from conclusive result of vaping with many variables) and the odd small explosion of a battery (mostly caused by negligence).

On balance, it is still very important not to get too complacent with the lowered fire risks. If at all possible, like all chargeable devices they should be not left when plugged in, and ensured to be switched off when putting in a bag or a pocket. I myself have had 2 near misses, one this year where the button was pressed and held in my pocket on a bus and my leg felt red hot, and once when I spilt a glass of water next to a charging e-cig. Some units have cut-offs like hairdryers with fuses, but not all. A concern to be raised and looked into is that of cheaper imports of lower standards, especially from China, where customers are often duped into believing e-cigs are the real deal at a cut price, yet they aren’t and should the worst happen, have very little ability to mount a legal challenge against a company in another jurisdiction. This doesn’t stop at e-cigs, basically all electronic products have been under the spotlight for causing increased and unnecessary risks.
Nevertheless, in the same report given by the London Fire service, there have been no deaths or serious injuries caused by e-cigarettes, at least where the fire brigade was concerned or were involved.

Next time you hear a horror story, just remember the stats. Smoking doesn’t win in any department, perhaps fire safety above all.


Written by ELFC content creator Alex Blatherwick



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