Objectives: To identify the proportion of adult cigarette smokers who have experienced cigarette-caused fires and burns and to describe smoker characteristics associated with increased risk of cigarette-caused fires and burns.
Methods: Data on cigarette-caused fires and burns were collected in the baseline questionnaire of a randomised trial of a smoking cessation intervention conducted in New Zealand between March 2006 and May 2007. Participants were adult callers to a national smoking cessation counselling service. Lifetime prevalence estimates of cigarette-caused fires and burns were obtained and associations between smoker characteristics and risk of fires and burns examined using logistic regression.
Results: Of 1097 participants in the trial at baseline, 75 (6.8%) reported past experience of ⩾1 fires caused by cigarettes (96 fires reported in total) and 658 (60.0%) described at least 1 cigarette-caused burn. In all, 57 participants (5.2%) reported burns that required medical attention. Male sex and Māori ethnicity (indigenous New Zealanders, who comprise 15% of the national population and among whom 42% of adults are smokers) were associated with increased risk of cigarette-caused fires. Male sex, younger age, younger age of smoking initiation, being unmarried, having a partner who smoked, having a higher education level and an annual income of $20 000 or more were associated with increased risk of cigarette burn injuries.
Conclusions: The results indicate that cigarette-caused fires and burns are common among New Zealand smokers, are a source of inequality and therefore deserve greater attention from health advocates and policymakers.
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Competing interests: None.
Funding: The PQNIQ Trial (Australasian Clinical Trials Network Number: 012605000373673) was funded by project grants from the Health Research Council of New Zealand and National Heart Foundation of New Zealand. JS undertook this work as part of his Masters in Public Health studies and received funding support from the New Zealand Population Health Charitable Trust.
Ethics approval: Ethics approval for the trial was granted by the Northern Region Ethics Committee.