Marie-Claude Dulac

By Marie-Claude Dulac

August 11, 2017


9 Tips to Help You Avoid Smoking-Related Fires

Article revised on 26 October 2018

According to the ministère de la Sécurité publique (in French only), 17.3% of fires claimed in Quebec in 2014 were linked to smoking, making it the second most common cause of fires after cooking units. That adds up to approximately 750 fires a year.

Is there a smoker in your home? If so, because of the increased risk of fire, your home insurance premium might be higher. Here are a few simple measures you can take to help avoid many problems and even save your life and those of your loved ones.

1. Never leave a lit cigarette unattended, even in an ashtray.

Make sure your ashtrays are located on stable surfaces and the cigarettes that are placed in them cannot be easily knocked over.

2. Never put out your stubs in flower pots or borders.

The soil used for potted plants often contains flammable material!

3. Never empty an ashtray into the garbage without pouring water over the stubs. Some stubs, even if they’re no longer smoking, can still be hot.

4. Never smoke in bed.

There’s just too much risk of falling asleep with a lit cigarette in your hand. Mattresses catch fire very quickly.

5. Avoid smoking on a couch if you are very tired, have consumed alcohol in an abusive manner or have taken medication causing drowsiness, because you’ll likely be less attentive and could fall asleep. The fabric your couch or curtains are made of catch fire quickly.

6. Never smoke near flammable products or in rooms in which they’re stored. Are you renovating? The use of flammable products is frequent when renovating. Therefore, you should smoke outside until the work is finished.

7. Always store smoking materials away from children’s reach.

If your kids are old enough to understand, explain the dangers of playing with matches or lighters to them. Also explain what they should do in the event of a fire, i.e. where to go, how to dial 911, etc.

8. Hosting guests that smoke?

Ideally, you should ask them to smoke outside and provide them with deep and stable ashtrays to put out their stubs safely. If they smoke inside, check your couches and carpets for stubs or embers.

9. Install smoke detectors and make sure they are in good working order.

  • Make sure you have detectors installed near the bedrooms.
  • Change the batteries and check that they are in good working order twice a year. Make a habit of doing this at the change to and from Daylight Savings Time in the spring and fall.
  • Replace the detectors every 10 years.

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