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Reductions in Smoking Show Promise for Reducing Home Fire Deaths

For Immediate Release: August 08, 2008


Contact: CDC Injury Center Media Relations, Phone: 770-488-4902
CDC Office on Smoking and Health, Phone: 770-488-5493



Home fire deaths are higher in states that have a greater percentage of smokers, according to a new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study published this month in the journal Injury Prevention. If smoking at home is reduced or stopped, fewer residential fire deaths may result, the study said.

Smoking is the leading cause of home fire deaths and accounts for approximately one quarter of the 3,000 home fire deaths in the United States each year. Quitting smoking, as well as following fire safety recommendations related to smoking, can help reduce the risk of cigarette-related home fire deaths. For free telephone-based counseling from anywhere in the United States, smokers can call 1-800-QUIT-NOW, a national number that connects people to their state-based quit line.

This study is the first to use national data to look at the percentage of current smokers and home fire deaths in the District of Columbia and all U.S. states except Hawaii. Nationally, an estimated 21 percent of adults smoked in 2004, with state averages ranging from 11 percent (Utah) to 28 percent (Kentucky). In that year, an estimated 2,804 individuals died in home fires, or nearly one death per 100,000 people in the United States.

“Our study suggests that even modest reductions in overall smoking rates may save lives. In fact, quitting smoking is the most important step smokers can take to improve their overall health and that of their loved ones. People who do smoke should smoke outside the house to help protect themselves and their families from home fires and exposure to secondhand smoke, a known human carcinogen,” said Shane Diekman, Ph.D., M.P.H., a behavioral scientist at CDC′s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control.

People who continue to smoke can reduce the risk of indoor fires by adopting strict smoke-free home rules; using deep, sturdy ashtrays securely set on tables; dousing cigarette and cigar butts in water or extinguishing with sand before dumping in the trash; and never smoking in bed or leaving burning cigarettes unattended. And everyone can reduce their risk of being harmed in a residential fire by making sure to have a working smoke alarm at home and testing that alarm regularly to make sure it is working.

“Home fire deaths have declined during the past several decades, and this decline has paralleled reductions in smoking,” said Ileana Arias, Ph.D., director of CDC′s Injury Center. “We work hard to keep our homes safe, and it just makes good sense to help people understand that if they can change their smoking habits, we may continue to reduce these tragedies.”

The study used CDC′s Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System and the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System data.

For more information about CDC′s injury prevention efforts, please link to http://www.cdc.gov/ncipc/factsheets/fire.htm. For a copy of this study, please link to Injury Prevention′s website at: http://press.psprings.co.uk/ip/august/228_ip17004.pdf

State-level Smoking and Residential Fire Death Rates – 2004 – CDC

State Deaths Population Crude Rate % Smoking

Alabama

76

4501862

1.68

24.9

Alaska

8

648510

1.22

24.8

Arizona

24

5577784

0.42

18.5

Arkansas

61

2726166

2.22

25.6

California

187

35456602

0.52

14.8

Colorado

15

4548071

0.33

20

Connecticut

26

3485881

0.74

18.1

Delaware

10

817827

1.2

24.4

District of Columbia

11

557846

1.98

20.9

Florida

123

16993369

0.71

20.2

Georgia

132

8746849

1.48

20

Idaho

11

1368111

0.79

17.4

Illinois

121

12649940

0.95

22.2

Indiana

92

6196269

1.48

24.9

Iowa

28

2941362

0.95

20.8

Kansas

28

2724224

1.02

19.8

Kentucky

59

4116780

1.42

27.5

Louisiana

89

4490380

1.97

23.5

Maine

6

1308245

0.46

21

Maryland

62

5512477

1.11

19.5

Massachusetts

30

6417565

0.47

18.5

Michigan

112

10078146

1.11

23.3

Minnesota

21

5061662

0.41

20.7

Mississippi

79

2880793

2.72

24.5

Missouri

87

5718717

1.51

24.1

Montana

11

917885

1.19

20.4

Nebraska

14

1738013

0.8

20.3

Nevada

10

2241700

0.43

23.2

New Hampshire

11

1287594

0.85

21.7

New Jersey

45

8640028

0.52

18.8

New Mexico

23

1879252

1.21

20.3

New York

139

19228031

0.72

19.9

North Carolina

108

8422375

1.26

23.1

North Dakota

5

633051

0.79

19.9

Ohio

97

11431748

0.85

25.9

Oklahoma

59

3504917

1.67

26.1

Oregon

32

3562681

0.89

20

Pennsylvania

145

12364930

1.17

22.7

Rhode Island

4

1075729

0.37

21.3

South Carolina

88

4146753

2.1

24.3

South Dakota

13

764599

1.69

20.3

Tennessee

88

5841585

1.49

26.2

Texas

176

22099136

0.78

20.5

Utah

10

2378696

0.41

10.5

Vermont

0

619092

0

20

Virginia

109

7383387

1.46

20.8

Washington

41

6131131

0.66

19.2

West Virginia

29

1810347

1.6

26.9

Wisconsin

48

5471792

0.87

21.9

Wyoming

1

501915

0.2

21.7

Total

2804

293656842

0.96

20.9

####

EDITORS NOTE: If you need high resolution photos and broadcast-quality B-roll footage of fire safety and prevention measures, please go to FireSafety.gov. This website is sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) and includes royalty free images and video, current statistics, and fire prevention tips.
CDC is attaching the state listing for reporters. Note: this is not included in the study, but can also be found on CDC′s website at:  http://www.cdc.gov/ncipc/factsheets/fire.htm.

####

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