It may seem fairly obvious that smoking where oxygen home therapy is used is not a good idea, but there are reasons beyond the obvious that many people do not know. Smoking, in and of itself, is unhealthy and if a patient is on oxygen, there is a great chance that person is on oxygen because of smoking. Why add to the difficulty those people experience already? Beyond the fact that smoking near the oxygen patient is dangerous, it is also very dangerous to the smoker, and unfortunately, sometimes the smoker is the patient. It is also important to know that the air we breathe contains about 20% oxygen, while the oxygen delivered to an oxygen patient is 100%.
An article from Massachusetts General Hospital reads, “Smokers who use home oxygen may understand the need to turn the tank off before lighting up, but may not realize that the danger persists, even when the oxygen isn’t flowing. Oxygen can build up, not only in the home, but on the hair, clothes, and body of the patient and ignite when a heat source (like a cigarette) comes close to the face, causing severe burns.”
“We see too many cases where patients are badly burned because they were smoking while using home oxygen,” says Colleen M. Ryan, a surgeon in the Sumner Redstone Burn Center at Massachusetts General Hospital. “These injuries are completely preventable and it’s important that patients and their families understand the risk.” According to the massgeneral.org article, “Since 1997, home oxygen has been involved in 24 fire-related fatalities in Massachusetts, caused more than 50 serious injuries, seven firefighter injuries and 69 identifiable incidents. In 2009 alone, there were five severe fire incidents with home oxygen; one involved a candle and four involved smoking.”
It is certainly not advised by any means, but people who smoke are going to smoke whether they know how bad it is or not. If you or a loved one smokes in an area where oxygen home therapy is taking place, at the very least, turn off the concentrator or tank and wait 10 full minutes before going outside to smoke. This will decrease the amount of oxygen in the area of the home and on the person who plans on smoking.
One study conducted by the Center for Disease Control, or the CDC, found out how dangerous smoking near home oxygen can be. “During 2000-2007, of the 38 deaths identified in the four states, 37 occurred in private residences, and the median age of the decedents was 67 years. “
Please quit smoking, or quit smoking around someone who uses oxygen home therapy. If you need help quitting, get in touch with your doctor about smoking cessation techniques. There are many options to help you give up this unhealthy habit. The person using oxygen therapy is trying to improve their breathing and smoking around them endangers everyone.
It is also very important to follow instructions from your oxygen supplier because your tanks may come with specific storage directions. For some other helpful tips to prevent accidents with home oxygen and fire, COPD expert Deborah Leader has them listed at abouthealth.com.
If you have questions regarding your oxygen delivery from Aeroflow, please contact us at 888-345-1780 or at Aeroflowinc.com. Click here to see if you qualify through insurance.