Since the introduction of the smoking ban in 2007 most UK businesses think that the potential of fires due to smoking has been snuffed out. However our research shows that the vast majority of businesses have poor or no provision for employees who want to smoke.
Did the smoking ban magically encourage employees to stop smoking? Is it fair to say that, on the whole, those who smoked before the ban still smoke now?
When carrying out fire risk assessments across the UK we often find that the provision for smoking members of staff is so poor that it is a significant fire risk.
When there is no real safe environment in which to smoke (either a smoking shelter or at least a fire-proof ashtray) then smokers often discard cigarettes close to a building.
Consider the following:
Cigarettes burn at approximatley 700 degrees Celsius and they are designed to stay lit and can therefore smoulder unseen for some time.
Nationally, someone dies every three days as a result of a fire caused by cigarettes.
Approximately 800 injuries each year occur as a result of fires caused by smoking.
There is still a big potential fire-safety risk to businesses due to smoking and this is one reason why the UK Government has pushed for a new EU study into the effectiveness of 'Reduced Ignition Propensity' cigarettes - which go out quickly if left unattended.
With 80% of businesses likely to never recover from a major fire it is about time that business owners stopped turning a blind-eye to smokers and ensure there is safe provision for smoking on or near their premises.