(Salt Lake City) – Fires are raging across Utah and officials say cigarettes may be the cause of at least one wildfire and multiple house fires. This has prompted the Utah Department of Health’s (UDOH) Tobacco Prevention and Control Program (TPCP) to issue a cigarette safety warning to the public.
Twenty-eight wildfires have blazed their way across the state this year, costing nearly $50 million in firefighting resources. Some were caused by target shooting and lightning, and fireworks have been banned in many areas due to their potential fire hazard. Fire officials say the Grease Fire in Millard County may have been caused by a cigarette. On July 23, fire officials reported a West Jordan house fire that caused more than $60,000 in damage and resulted in the death of a family pet.
“Cigarettes, cigars, pipes, lighters, and matches pose a serious fire danger in our homes and the outdoors,” said Amy Oliver, Media Liaison for the Tobacco Prevention and Control Program. “Snuffing out your cigarette completely can help to reduce fires, but the best way to prevent fires is to not smoke at all.”
Quit smoking resources like the Utah Tobacco Quit Line at 1.800.QUIT.NOW and UtahQuitNet.com can help smokers quit tobacco and reduce their own fire hazard potential. “The decision to quit smoking has always had many personal benefits, like better health, more money to use on other needs, and the fact that food tastes better and your sense of smell improves,” said Oliver. “The added benefit of preventing fires and protecting our homes and the outdoors is icing on the cake for quitters.”
From January 2008 to June 2012, the Office of the State Fire Marshal reported 1,360 fires related to smoking. Recent data show 249 fires, or 18 percent, were caused by cigarettes, pipes, or cigars. An additional 314 fires, or 23 percent, were attributed to misuse of cigarette lighters. Across the state, 21,435 fires were reported during this time period.
For free help quitting smoking, call the Utah Tobacco Quit Line at 1.800.QUIT.NOW, or visit www.UtahQuitNet.com.
(801) 538-6917 (desk)
(801) 783-9067 (cell)