As well as its well-known health hazards, smoking has always posed a fire risk – sparking hundreds of blazes every year.
But now new figures reveal that dozens of fires in the UK have also been linked to electronic cigarettes, with the problem on the rise.
The growing trend, which has claimed at least one life, has prompted fire bosses to issue safety advice in a bid to get smokers to use the devices more safely.
Firefighters have dealt with 113 blazes linked to e-cigarettes since 2012, according to the figures obtained by the Press Association under Freedom of Information laws from 43 of the country’s 51 fire services.
Crews from those services were called to just eight incidents in 2012, but dealt with 43 last year and 62 in the first 10 months of this. This year’s total equates to well over one fire each week.
According to the fire services which deal with the incidents, many of them have been caused by users connecting their e-cigs to chargers that are incompatible. The devices have then either exploded or overheated, causing fires.
Two million e-cig users
Earlier this year 62-year-old David Thomson tragically died when a charging e-cigarette exploded, igniting oxygen equipment that it is thought he was using. It is thought Mr Thomson is the first person in the UK to be killed in a fire related to e-cigarettes.
Meanwhile, the incidents have left other people injured and several properties badly damaged.
And with the UK now thought to have more than two million e-cigarette users the trend is being investigated by the Chief Fire Officers Association.
Its smoking and tobacco lead, Mark Hazelton, says with the e-cigarette market continuing to grow there is a fear that the number of related fires will increase in direct proportion.
Fire safety experts, meanwhile, are urging users to ensure their e-cigs are powered up using compatible charging devices.
The fire services reporting the most e-cigarette-related fires are those in South Yorkshire, Greater Manchester and the West Midlands. Eight fire services were not able to provide information on blazes specifically related to e-cigarettes.
People who’ve been injured in a fire that resulted from someone else’s reckless behaviour can get advice on a possible claim for compensation from Accident Advice Helpline. Call us free on 0800 689 0500 or 0333 500 0993 from a mobile phone for free, no obligation advice about making a claim.
Date Published: November 4, 2014
Author: David Brown