Smoking Material Safety

Children & Fire

Every year, hundreds of children die in home fires started by children who were using or playing with matches or lighters. If your child expresses curiosity about fire or has been playing with matches or lighters, it’s best to explain firmly that matches and lighters are tools for adults to use carefully. Find safe ways to let your child participate in your careful use of fire. Let them blow out candles or put charcoal on the grill before you light it. As children grow older they can learn how to use matches and lighters safely, but only under adult supervision.

Children & Matches/Lighters

Treat matches and lighters as you would a dangerous weapon. Store them up high, out of children’s reach, preferably in a locked cabinet. Teach very young children that if they see matches or lighters they should not touch them, but should tell an adult about them and where they are. School-age children, on the other hand, should be taught to bring matches or lighters to an adult so they can be removed from younger children.


Every year, careless smoking starts about 35,000 home fires. Those fires cause more than 1,200 deaths and lead to hundreds of millions of dollars in property loss. Cigarettes can smolder under the cushions of a chair or sofa for several hours before igniting. That’s long enough for the whole family to fall asleep before the fire shows itself. Before leaving a room where people have been smoking, check-in, and around furniture for hot embers, ashes, butts, and matches.

Use Ashtrays

To reduce the risk of cigarettes starting a fire, have plenty of large, deep ashtrays on hand and empty them often. Fill them with water before dumping cigarette butts into wastebaskets. A lit cigarette left in an ashtray is a fire hazard. It can ignite butts and matchsticks, and, as it burns down, it can easily roll out of the ashtray and cause a fire.

Smokers Need Watchers

Never smoke in bed or when you are drowsy. Keep an eye on any smoker who is taking medication that might cause drowsiness. Especially watch anyone who is smoking and drinking.