The Propensity of Lit Cigarettes to Ignite Gasoline Vapors

Research paper by Howard A. Marcus, Justin A. Geiman

Indexed on: 24 Dec '13Published on: 24 Dec '13Published in: Fire technology


Fire investigators regularly evaluate available fuels and potential ignition sources to determine the cause of a fire. This work examined the propensity of lit cigarettes to ignite gasoline vapors, expanding on previous work to include a large number of trials and a wide range of test conditions. Experiments were conducted exposing lit cigarettes, both at idle and under draw, to gasoline vapors in various configurations including pools/pans of gasoline, gasoline on textile substrates (clothing), and sprays of gasoline. Five major brands of commercially-manufactured tobacco cigarettes were tested. The experiments conducted for this study consisted of 70 distinct tests involving a total of 723 cigarettes and over 4,500 instances of exposure of a lit cigarette to ignitable concentrations of gasoline vapor in air. There were no instances of the ignition of gasoline vapors from the exposure of those vapors to a lit tobacco cigarette during any of the experiments.