Hello again! It’s Dawn here, your fact-finding A Clean Cigarette blogger. As some of you may know I love to hear stories and questions from customers because often times they inspire some very fun and informative blog topics. Most times the topics are fun. Sometimes, like today, they are not.
So picture this,
Your working behind the counter of an A Clean Cigarette store, helping fellow smokers and having a blast doing it. Suddenly a man comes in with a rag up to his bloody face and an oxygen tank in tow. You rush over to him thinking he was in a car accident or something else but are you’re stopped in your tracks when he says these five words: “I Need To Quit Smoking”
These are five words you are very used to hearing at an A Clean Cigarette store and while you agree he is in the right place to make a great switch, you are unsure why his smoking habit is his priority right now. I mean his face is bleeding, right?!?!?! (yet another demonstration of how determined smokers are to get their nicotine fix!)
So you say, “I can help you make the switch, but I think I should help you with your injury first! What happened??!”
He offers a half smile and begins telling you about how when he lit his burning tobacco cigarette and the oxygen tube on his face “exploded”, shot fire up his nose.
This is not a fictional story, this really happened at our A Clean Cigarette store here in Muskegon and I have to tell you, it blew us away. I mean I have always heard that this could happen but I have never before had a first-hand account of the situation. (Mind = Blown)
Take a look at these pictures that this customer was kind enough to let me use on the blog to tell his story. If pictures say a thousand words, these ones are full of conversation.
What you can’t see in the pictures is that the flames shot up into his nose and sinuses. The bleeding was awful and even a week later when I talked to him, he was still getting lumps of bloody mucus from his sinuses through his nasal passage.
So you can imagine that with all this happening that my interest in how often it actually takes place peeked. So what’s a blogger to do when she has unanswered questions? That’s right, she finds answers!
What I have learned:
First of all, this happens way more often then you may imagine. In fact, the very first thing that popped up on my search was a recent news report out of Jackson Michigan, that was published on September 15th (That’s about a month and a half ago from when I am posting this blog.)
And when they say severely they mean it. This tragic accident caused massive burns to her face and upper body and landed her in critical care. The fire that was caused by smoking with the O2 (Oxygen) also did a fair amount of damage to her home.
Okay, so right off I knew that it must happen more then I would have thought because that makes two in two months just in West Michigan alone. That being said I still did not have an answer to my original question. How often does this really happen? Then I found this study published on NIH.GOV (National Institue of Health)
According to this study “The greatest risk for oxygen users is tobacco smoking when using oxygen.” The study goes on to show a very useful table to illustrate the ways oxygen tanks and users catch fire. It’s pretty obvious what the main culprit is in these fires. Look for yourself ⇓
It’s not even close. Without any doubt burning tobacco cigarettes are the greatest fire risk to smokers on O2 tanks. In fact, about 45 people die each year in the United States, and more than 1,000 are burned from fires fueled by home oxygen equipment, mostly caused by smoking.
The dangers are real and the impact of these fires are serious. Based on what I have learned our Muskegon customer got very, very lucky. It could have been so very much worse. To demonstrate how bad these fires are and can get let me pull a couple quotes from one story I found online:
- “On Oct. 28, 2002, an 8-year-old girl died in another Massachusetts community when her father, a smoker with lung disease, dropped a cigarette while he was using home oxygen. The tank exploded, and the girl could not escape the home.”
- “On May 16, 2009, a house fire burned so intensely that firefighters in full gear were unable to reach a 73-year-old grandmother in Whitman. Helena Drass died in a fire that was rapidly spread by her oxygen containers. Fire investigators believe she was smoking a cigarette while using her oxygen equipment. The fire was so intense, it did more damage in 10 minutes than most fires do in 30 minutes,’’ Whitman Fire Chief Timothy Grenno said at the time.”
- “A 61-year-old grandmother died Friday when the oxygen mask she was using burst into flames while smoking a cigarette. Reports say that Margrete Jenson suffered from 3rd-degree burns across most of her upper torso, shoulders, and face but died due to smoke inhalation.”
There are tons of these. It’s heartbreaking. 🙁
The most outrageous headline I found was this one:
Patient killed after blowing up hospital ward when he decided to smoke a cigarette while undergoing treatment in high-pressure oxygen chamber
Yes, you read that right and here is an image of what the aftermath of that looks like:
I also found a few images of a mannequin that they used in an experiment to show the dangers of smoking while wearing oxygen tank equipment:
After all of the looking around I have done on this topic the conclusion that I came to is smoking burning tobacco on oxygen is a possible tragedy waiting to happen. If you use oxygen STOP smoking burning tobacco. The best thing would be to stop using all nicotine products but if you are one of the 1 in 10 super addicted that just can’t or won’t walk away from nicotine please consider switching to a nicotine delivery system that has no flame. Flame is the enemy of the oxygen tank and with A Clean Cigarette brand cig-a-like’s you can get your nicotine, without the flame.
This was a bittersweet blog to do. Thinking about the fact that I may never have met the amazing man who walked in with his face bleeding because his story could have been so much worse. Chills run down my spine as I look at some of the pictures available on the internet and imagine what could have happened. *shakes head sadly*
If you have questions or thoughts on this or any topic we cover on the A Clean Cigarette blog please feel free to reach out to me. You can use the contact form below or leave a comment below that. 🙂 In addition, you can always reach out to us via a message on Facebook or check out our webpage at www.acleancigarette.com . I love to hear from you and I will try my best to respond ASAP! Thank you so much for stopping by today!
|Cooper, B. G. (2015). Home oxygen and domestic fires. Breathe, 11(1), 4–12. http://doi.org/10.1183/20734735.000815|