Homeowners insurance blog

Quit Smoking – Save Your Body and Your House

November is National Lung Cancer Awareness Month. If you’re waiting for a time to stop smoking, it’s now. Why? November isn’t just a time to think about your body and the risk of lung cancer, 80% of the deaths from which are caused by smoking, according to the American Cancer Society.

November, with Thanksgiving and the holidays around the corner, also presents a month to think about your family and the dangers smoking poses for it as well.

Smoking doesn’t just pose a threat to you, but also for those around you; those who depend on you. Fortunately, the bad habit has declined in popularity during the last 7 years, from 20.9% of Americans in 2005 to 18.1% in 2012. But 4.2 million people in the U.S. still smoke, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Those 4.2 million people not only put themselves at risk, they put their households right in the crosshairs for trouble. Because smoking is among the leading causes of dwelling fires, lighting up puts smokers’ families and possessions in harm’s way.

Protecting you

How big of a danger does smoking pose really? Individuals who smoke cigarettes, cigars, or pipes risk lung cancer and a myriad of other health problems. The 2nd most common cancer in both men and women, lung cancer represents only 13% of all diagnosed cancers but around 27% of all cancer deaths, according to the American Cancer Society. This disease causes around 160,000 deaths each year.

These deaths, along with others caused by smoking, make the habit the leading cause of preventable mortality in the U.S., the CDC says.  Secondhand smoke also kills. Even if you don’t care about your own health, you probably do care about someone else’s wellbeing, whether family, friends, or pets. Smoking cessation isn’t easy, but the hard work it takes almost certainly proves worth it.

Safeguarding your house

If the health statistics aren’t enough to convince you to quit, consider this: the risk of fire to your house is much, much greater when you smoke. Each year, smoking-materials start an estimated 90,000 fires in the U.S., causing around $630 million in direct property damage, according to the U.S. Fire Administration.

Smoking is the leading cause of home fire deaths in the U.S., according to the USFA. Quitting can drastically reduce the threat to you, your home, and those who live with you. In November, the holidays beckon and present significant fire hazards for those who smoke at home: Christmas trees, tinsel, garlands, wreaths, and paper-wrapped presents all could suddenly ignite.  The holidays are a time to cherish your family, not to put it in harm’s way.

If you smoke in the house, always choose a sturdy, secured ashtray that won’t tip over. Completely stub out your cigarette and soak the ashes in water before throwing them away; 67% of smoking-related home fires occurred when smoking materials were not extinguished properly, the USFA says. Overall, use an abundance of caution while smoking. The best place is outside of your house.

Though quitting can be extremely difficult, you have a variety of reasons to at least consider it this month. From the dangers of lung cancer to secondhand smoke to fire hazard, you have a lot of motivation.

In addition, quitting can earn you a significant reduction in insurance costs. The average home insurance claim for fire damage adds up to nearly $35,000, according to the Insurance Information Institute (III), so insurers have an incentive to encourage customers to quit. While discounts vary widely by state and provider, you could earn up to 20% off your premiums for a smoke-free household.

Don’t let cigarette smoke obscure the reality – the practice can threaten you, your family, and your home. Isn’t it time to quit?