FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, November 18, 2014

DCA Division of Fire Safety Endorses Recent National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Study that Cautions Against Smoking
Research Shows Smoking can cause Deadly Consequences both Indoors and Outdoors

TRENTON, N.J. – The New Jersey Division of Fire Safety today announced that it endorses a recent study performed by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), which cautions against smoking. The study looks at data regarding indoor and outdoor smoking and smoking at private residences.

The finding reveals that smoking, regardless of location, still has potentially deadly consequences, especially since recent research shows a shift in residential smoking fire origin. In short, the study shows that there is a clear relationship between house fires and smoking.

The NFPA cites research by King, Patel and Babb noting that in 2010-2011, 83 percent of all households, and 46 percent of households with a smoker had banned in-home smoking, compared to the period between 1992-1993, which revealed that smoking was not allowed inside 43 percent of all homes and 10 percent of households with a smoker.

NFPA residential fire source statistics show a startling correlation between where smoking fires originate and where household members smoke. The periods between 1980 to 1984 and  2007 to 2011 show:

  • Only 1 percent of home smoking material fires started on the exterior balcony or open porch and less than 1 percent started in a courtyard, terrace or patio in 1980-1984, compared to 14 percent and 6 percent in these respective areas, in 2007-2011.

  • In 2007-2011, the percentage of home smoking fires starting in the bedroom (18 percent) was less than half of the 39 percent in 1980-1984.

  • During 1980-1984, home structure fires due to smoking were more than three times as likely to start in the living room, family room or den (28 percent) than in 2007-2011 (8 percent). (source: National Fire Protection Association)

"It’s clear from these statistics that these fires are occurring at home a great deal of the time, where the smokers are," said William Kramer, Jr. Acting Director and State Fire Marshal.

Division of Fire Safety statistics show that in 2013, 85 percent of all fires reported in the state that year were residential fires.

The Reduced Cigarette Ignition Propensity and Firefighter Protection (Safe Cigarette) Law requires all cigarettes sold in the state adhere to "self-extinguishing" properties, or automatically stop burning when not in use. The law is enforced by the Division of Fire Safety, the Division of Taxation and the Attorney General’s office. If broken, one faces possibly $250,000 in fines.

Kramer says that although New Jersey has some of the strictest cigarette regulatory laws in the country, he still cautions that careless smoking, especially discarding cigarettes into mulch, potted plants, leaf piles and dry vegetation around the home, can be deadly.

To view the NFPA study, visit: 

The Division of Fire Safety serves as the central fire service agency in the State. The Division is responsible for the development and enforcement of the State Uniform Fire Code, as well as, for implementing public education and firefighter training programs.