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The Propensity of Lit Cigarettes to Ignite Gasoline Vapors


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.

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Correspondence to Justin A. Geiman.

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Marcus, H.A., Geiman, J.A. The Propensity of Lit Cigarettes to Ignite Gasoline Vapors. Fire Technol 50, 1391–1412 (2014).

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  • Fire investigation
  • Ignition
  • Cigarettes
  • Gasoline