An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

HomeNewsroomNewsArticle Display

Article - Article View

Smoking: Not just bad for you

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- One of the potentially deadly side effects of smoking that people often fail to discuss is the very real risk of fire. Thousands of people are killed or badly injured each year in smoking-related fires.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, cigarettes lighters and matches are the leading cause of fire deaths in the United States. This is just another example of how much destruction smoking can cause outside of the smoker's body.

Just last month, Peterson Fire Emergency Services responded to a fire involving an overflowing smoking urn. When the responding crews first saw the fire, they thought it was a gas line that had ruptured and caught fire due to its size and intensity. Once the fire was extinguished, the crews found the urn had been filled nearly to the top with cigarette butts and trash, a reminder to building managers that they need to properly maintain authorized tobacco use areas.

Last year, area residents learned how fast fire can spread in this arid Colorado climate. Due to the mild winter thus far, the fire risk is shaping up to be worse than last year. The following compilation of tips and requirements are from 21 Space Wing Instruction 32-2001, Fire Emergency Services, Air Force Instruction 91-203, Air Force Consolidated Occupational Safety Instruction and AFI 40-102, Tobacco Use in the Air Force.

· Designated tobacco areas will be kept in good condition.
· Tobacco use on the installation shall be restricted to DTAs. Tobacco use outside of DTAs, including while walking anytime outside of DTAs, is prohibited.
· DTAs shall be away from common points of facility entry/egress and not in front of buildings or air intake ducts. The distance of a DTA from building entry/egress is to be determined by the squadron commander but will be no less than 50 feet.
· DTAs shall be a minimum of 50 feet from pedestrian walkways, including parking lots, to prevent secondhand smoke exposure to passersby.
· Tobacco users are responsible for keeping DTAs clean and free of cigarette butts and debris. Commanders may remove DTAs if the area around it or leading up to it is cluttered with trash, cigarette butts or spittoons.
· Provide an adequate number of ash receptacles and trash cans for every authorized smoking area.
· Dispose of smoking material in approved containers (listed by UL, CSA or other recognized testing laboratory) specifically designed for smoking material. Stencil these containers or cans ―SMOKING MATERIAL ONLY
· Disposal of waste, trash or any combustible material in ashtrays or smoking material cans is prohibited.
· Saturate and completely extinguish smoking material prior to disposal into outside waste dumpsters.

Commanders and facility managers own the lion's share of responsibility for enforcement, but ultimately we all have a role in keeping our personnel and base safe. If you observe someone smoking outside a DTA, remind them of the rules. If you notice a smoking urn full to the top or full of trash, contact your facility manager.

Peterson SFB Schriever SFBCheyenne Mountain SFSThule AB New Boston SFS Kaena Point SFS Maui