Maude Fugère, B.B.A.

Smokers: Be Vigilant!

It is well-known that smoking has been on the decline for a number of years. In 2016, 16.9% of Canadians smoked on a daily basis or occasionally, as compared to 19.9% in 2011. This means that campaigns showing the negative health effects of cigarettes and new anti-smoking legislation had a real, positive impact. To improve the health of all, it is important to protect the public from the dangers of exposure to second-hand smoke, to prevent initial tobacco use, and to promote quitting smoking.


While the number of smokers is decreasing, cigarettes are still the cause of many fires. Smokers’ materials and open flames caused 19% of residential building fires in 2015. As the majority of smokers now smoke outside, it is important to note that you should never dispose of your cigarette butts in flower pots, balcony planters, flower beds, black soil, mulch, or any similar materials. Fires can occur in the presence of these materials up to four or five hours after you stub out your cigarette. A real-life example is the fire that destroyed the wooden terrasse on the roof of the building that houses Le Devoir’s offices in Montréal. The fire was started by a cigarette that had not been fully put out in a flower pot.

Therefore, when you are outdoors, it is best to dispose of your cigarettes in a can with good depth filled with wet sand. If that is not possible, it is recommended that you use an ashtray that is appropriate for outdoor hazards such as wind.


With the legalization of cannabis on October 17, it is quite likely that there will be an increase in fires caused by smokers’ materials. As such, here are some other tips to prevent fires:

1. Ashtray use

The use of an ashtray is recommended to dispose of your cigarettes when indoors. However, it must have a wide brim and be placed on a stable surface. It is crucial never to empty the contents of an ashtray into a trash can. A safer method is to thoroughly wet your cigarette butts and throw them in the garbage afterwards.

2. Never leave a burning cigarette unattended

You should never leave a burning cigarette unattended, even in an ashtray. Accidents happen fast!

3. Keep smoker’s material out of the reach and sight of children

It is of the utmost importance that you teach your children about the dangers of fires and ask them to let you know if they find lighters or other smokers’ materials at home.

4. What if your guests want to smoke in your home?

Don’t hesitate to ask them to smoke outside and respect the rules of your home. However, don’t forget to provide them with a safe ashtray.

5. Never smoke near flammable products

A smoker should never smoke in a place where there are flammable products or in the presence of flammable products in aerosol cans (hair spray, cleaning products, etc.).

6. Don’t smoke in bed, on the couch, or in an armchair

As you all know, it is important not to fall asleep with a cigarette in hand, since fire spreads rapidly in a home. Alcohol, fatigue, and certain medications can make you fall asleep quickly.


Your home insurance premiums may be higher if you smoke or if a smoker lives in your home. The reason is simple—there is a greater risk of fire occurring in your home. That is why Lareau brokers recommend that you install smoke detectors in your home and ensure that they are operational at all times.

To learn more about home insurance, contact your Lareau broker today.

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Maude Fugère, B.B.A. Commercial-Lines Administration and optimization Director
Damage Insurance Broker
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