Fast facts

Published on August 23, 2011
  • Cigarettes are a leading cause of home fire fatalities in the United States, killing 500 to 700 people - smokers and nonsmokers alike - per year.
  • Smoking-material fires killed 610 people and injured 1,570 others in 2010. Eighty-nine percent of the deaths and 84 percent of the injuries were in home fires.
  • Property losses from smoking-material fires total hundreds of millions of dollars each year.
  • There were 26,400 smoking-material structure fires in the United States in 2010.
  • The risk of dying in a home structure fire caused by smoking materials rises with age. Between 2006 and 2010, nearly half (45%) of fatal home smoking-material-fire victims were age 65 or older.
  • One-quarter of victims of smoking-material fire fatalities are not the smokers whose cigarettes started the fire: 34 percent are children of the smokers; 25 percent are neighbors or friends; 14 percent are spouses or partners; and 13 percent are parents.
  • Trash, mattresses and bedding, and upholstered furniture are the items most commonly ignited in smoking-material home fires.
  • Between 2006 and 2010, two-fifths (38%) of fatal home smoking-material fire victims were sleeping when injured; thirty-eight percent were attempting to escape, to fight the fire, or to rescue others.
Source: NFPA's "U.S. Smoking-Material Fire Problem," John R. Hall, Jr., March 2012. 
Updated: 5/12
NFPA (National Fire Protection Association)
1 Batterymarch Park, Quincy, MA 02169-7471 USA
Telephone: +1 617 770-3000 Fax: +1 617 770-0700