Friday, 10 September 2010

Did a cigarette cause the fire at Ninewells?

The cause of the fire at Ninewells might never be clearly established, but callers to the Courier office from employees and former employees at the hospital claim that smoking indoors continues and a cigarette end may have been to blame.

Illicit and covert smoking is frequently put forward as a reason not to apply comprehensive smoking bans: covert smoking is far more dangerous than smoking openly in a designated area with proper disposal facilities.

The obvious answer to the problems at Ninewells Hospital and hospitals everywhere is a smoking room that would be comfortable enough to attract people away from doorways, cloakrooms and other forbidden areas. The suggestion that smoking caused the disaster at Ninewells yesterday has forced revelations of how much illicit smoking goes on, and supports the call for such a smoking area.


Anonymous said...

Belinda, I have another headline,

"Non Smoker may be the cause of major fire when drying clothes"

Smokers should Demand a smoking room inside the Hospitals,after all they do pay more into the NHS.


Anonymous said...

Why is it that the fire service don't yet know the cause and the police state categorically that the fire was caused by a mechanical fault in a laundry room, and yet the headline falsely claim it may have been a cigarette.
Can't someone contact this newspaper and demand a retraction of their lying headline ??

Belinda said...

anon 2, I think that's because of the calls they have had from the public (employees) claiming the fire could have been caused by smoking because so much of it still goes on. The fact is that if done covertly it is more likely to be a fire risk, and it would be far better to abandon the ban so that smoking can be done without attempts at any cover up.

Anyone can complain about the headline, but I think it is made quite clear why they have written it that way.

Right! A smoking room is the only sensible solution here.

Anonymous said...

NO. It was a faulty light fitting.

Belinda said...

Good ... glad that they've established the cause of this fire. But fire risks from covert smoking remain:

Michael J. McFadden said...

There are two articles on this at the Echo:



I just added the following to the discussions there:

Of course the most obvious and most effective solution to the problem is completely ignored by the hospital: Simply designate one or two of the comfortable indoor lounge areas for patients and their visitors as "smoking-allowed" and stick a simple exhaust fan in a window.

Virtually any other "solution" is going to result in risk of fires, injuries, and deaths and the hospital should be held legally responsible in such an event. They cannot claim that it was simply an "unforeseen consequence" as they have been well warned in venues ranging from my book in 2004 through Dr. John Dent's Nov. 3rd 2008 published letter to the Guardian on the increased risk of fires in reference to his patients at

and my extension of it at:

There is no excuse for not providing such facilities. Behavior modification Big Brother type social engineering arguments do not carry sufficient weight against the risks to life involved, and concerns about secondary smoke exposures from decently exhaust-ventilated lounge areas are so ridiculous as to amount to nothing more than a lame excuse.

Michael J. McFadden
Author of "Dissecting Antismokers' Brains"

Belinda said...

The hospital has to act within the law of course, but you are right. There should be absolutely no talk of 'unforeseen consequences' where these policies are concerned.

SPWS said...

If only a smoking area is present in the hospital maybe the fire would not happen. I wish the hospital would consider providing a facility like this.
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