“An apartment fire that killed two young boys and critically burned their mother was probably caused by a discarded cigarette, a Fire Department spokesman said Monday.”
— LA Times, March 3, 1998
“A smouldering cigarette end started the fire in the Mont Blanc tunnel which killed 39 people last year, the newspaper Le Parisien reported yesterday…
The cigarette end, thrown from another vehicle, entered the lorry’s air intake, setting fire to the air filter and then the entire engine…”
–Electronic Telegraph (UK), May 6, 2000
Fire conscious state of Washington pleads with smokers to use the ashtrays in their cars near a national forest.
Careless smoking is estimated to be the number one cause of fire related death and injury in the nation. The majority of these cases involve indoor smoking and careless extinguishing of smoking materials, but many of these fires are the result of littered cigarettes, whether tossed out of a car or thrown on the ground by pedestrians and bystanders. Not enough attention has been given to this problem and many fire departments have remained silent about cigarette litter. In the seventies, numerous radio and TV ads talked about cigarette littering as a major cause of forest fires, and that is just as true today. Communities that don’t take action on cigarette litter are exposing themselves to a very real potential for extensive property damage and fatalities. We think fire officials across the nation need to have a stronger voice on the issue and provide official guidance to communities and individuals as to how best to avoid cigarette-related fire tragedies.