Myth: House fires will increase as people will stay at home to smoke
Preceding the smoking ban, claims were made that the legislation was going to cause people to stay at home and smoke instead of going out to a pub or club and this would result in a greater number of house fires.
Reality: There have not been any reports to suggest that smoking related fires have increased. Further evidence that like-for-like sales in pubs have not been affected suggests that smokers have continued to visit pubs.
Source of the claim: Direct line
"The number of people killed in house fires caused by smokers has risen dramatically since smoking was banned in public places.
The grim rise bears out fears that more people are now drinking at home due to the smoking ban implemented in March 2006 and recent moves to end cheap alcohol offers in pubs and bars. The ban was hailed as a step forward for health but at the time critics warned it would lead to an increase in house fires as well as costing jobs and infringing human rights."
Scottish Mail, September 2009
Great big pachyderm tramping around the room:
Scots are twice as likely to die in a fire than people elsewhere in the UK thanks to their fatty diet and higher rates of smoking and excessive drinking, a new report has found.
Scottish ministers ordered the investigation following a 62 per cent rise in the number of people killed in fires north of the Border between 2006-07 and 2007-08.
The study made 37 recommendations to reduce the number of deaths, including each blaze being investigated by the authorities in the same way as drugs fatalities.
Surely you can guess which recommendation didn't rear it's inconvenient head?
Go read the report yourself, all 67 pages of it, here [pdf]
All that guff, signed off by Brian Sweeney, chief officer of Strathclyde Fire and Rescue, and not even a passing mention of the smoking ban. Plenty of proposals for further restrictions on legal practices, though.
Mind the elephant on your way out, Brian.