Fires caused by cigarettes are deadly. According to the 2016 Fire in Minnesota Report, while careless smoking accounts for only 3% of structure fires, it caused 25% of known fire fatalities. A multi-unit housing smoke-free policy is an effective way to protect a building and its inhabitants from the risk of smoking-related fires.

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Reduced Fire Risk

Smoking-related fires are usually caused by a dropped cigarette; often by someone who has fallen asleep or may be under the influence of alcohol. A dropped cigarette may lie in furniture or bed linens and could smolder for up to 30-45 minutes. The smoldering cigarette can cause smoke which contains carbon monoxide and other highly toxic gases that can put residents at risk of injury or death.

Apartments account for a larger share of smoking-related fires than any other residential structure. Smoking is the leading cause of residential fire death in Minnesota and around the country. The fatality rate due to a smoking-related fire is nearly four times higher than the overall residential fire rate; injuries are more than twice as likely. In 2009, smoking caused one-quarter (25%) of multi-housing fire deaths in Minnesota. 25% of victims who die in a smoking-related fire are not the smoker whose cigarette started the fire. Children, spouses, neighbors, friends, roommates, firefighters and others may be injured or die in smoking-related fires.