Ben’s knuckles were white as they gripped the worn armrests of his wheelchair. Not from effort, though. His movements had slowed to a languid amble decades ago. No, it was the anticipation, the stolen moment he craved every afternoon. Janice, his carer had positioned him by the window, where she had slipped a PROBAN® Flame Retardant Apron on him. 

The apron allowed him to enjoy a vice he’d clung to for decades - smoking a cigarette wasn’t so much about the nicotine. It had become a ritual, a pause button he pressed on the relentless march of time. 

Each puff was a moment stolen, a chance to inhale the sweet, smoky air and exhale a lifetime of memories. He could almost taste the cherry popsicles of his childhood summers, hear the raucous laughter of his long-gone friends, feel the warmth from a hug from years ago - when his kids would want to snuggle up and spend time with him. 

He slid his hand under the Flame Retardant Treated Cotton of the apron and reached into his shirt pocket, his fingers brushing the familiar worn leather of his cigarette case. With a practiced flick, it popped open, revealing a single stick of salvation. He extracted it, a small trophy, and placed it between his lips. The lighter, a silver marvel engraved with his initials, sparked to life with a satisfying snap. 

The first inhale was a journey. It carried the scent of freshly cut grass, and the faint, metallic tang of exhaust fumes from the occasional passing car. It was a symphony of the everyday, a reminder of the world still spinning outside his window. 

As he exhaled, a plume of smoke danced towards the ceiling, a silent question mark against the pale paint. Each puff was a stolen moment, a stolen breath of freedom. It wasn’t the nicotine that kept him coming back. It was the ritual; he thought again to himself.  

The pause, the quiet contemplation, the connection to a world that sometimes felt like it was moving a little too fast for his aging bones. The afternoon sun, a drowsy honeyed glow, slanted through the nursing home’s window, painting stripes across Ben’s weathered face. He sat in his wheelchair, an island in a sea of worn floral carpet, a lit cigarette, dangled precariously from his trembling fingers…The cherry glowed a defiant ember against the fading light. He coughed, and the small warm ember fell from the tip of the cigarette onto the apron, the orange dot fading instantly into a dull grey. 

He grunted then stubbed out the remaining half lit cigarette straight on the apron, a tiny ember of defiance flickered in his eyes. And then lit another. 

He closed his eyes and drifted back into the quiet hum of his memories. 

A sigh finally escaped his lips, a wisp of smoke curling upwards like a prayer. The past painted a kaleidoscope of vibrant hues, which made the present seem even more muted in comparison. His once-strong body, a testament to years of hard labour, was now a vessel that creaked in protest with every movement. The world, once a playground of possibilities, had shrunk to the confines of the nursing home walls. 

But in this quiet moment, with the smoke curling around his head - He wasn’t yearning for what was lost, but simply appreciating what remained. 

The Silent Threat: A Flicker of Danger 

Smoking is a common source of comfort for many seniors in frail care. But with advancing age comes a heightened risk of burns. A dropped cigarette, a misplaced cherry of hot ash – these seemingly small incidents can have devastating consequences. The lack of protection in traditional clothing can deprive seniors of their cherished smoking ritual. 

PROBAN® Flame Retardant Treated Cotton Aprons serve as a lighter and cooler alternative for light to moderate welding, smoking, and other situations requiring flame retardant protection. 

  • PROBAN® fabric chars and self-extinguishes upon contact with a flame or spark. 
  • No smoldering or afterglow providing effective protection for the wearer. 
  • Unlike some synthetic fibers, PROBAN® does not suffer from thermal shrinkage. 
  • No sticky residues that could adhere to the wearer’s skin exacerbating burn injuries. 

Since Proban fabrics resist ignition and can self-extinguish small flames. Seniors can now smoke with a greater sense of safety due to a significant decrease in burn risk. 

Investing in Safety, Investing in Life 

Proban flame retardant aprons are a small investment with a significant impact. They offer seniors continued enjoyment of a familiar comfort while providing caregivers with added peace of mind. It’s a win-win for everyone involved. 

Light the Way for a Safer Future 

By incorporating Proban aprons into your frail care facility, you’re not just adding extra protection for residents from fire hazards. You’re fostering a more relaxed, secure environment where seniors can feel safe and respected. Let Proban aprons be the spark that ignites a brighter future for your residents and staff. 

Disclaimer - the small print!  

These garments are already being used in nursing homes to prevent smokers from burning holes in their clothes and themselves. However, please consider the following information before ordering this product: 

  • The PROBAN material complies with European standards for resistance to welding hazards (Flame and Spark) - Flame Retardant ISO 14116:2008, EN ISO 11612, ISO 11611:2007. 
  • However, these standards do not specifically address cigarettes or cigarette ash. 
  • There are currently no Australian Standards related to protective clothing for smokers. 

To assess the garment’s effectiveness, we filmed 5 short videos showing its performance with smoking and cigarettes. Please watch all five videos as we deliberately show the material limits: 

1 - Extinguishing a Cigarette: Illustrates the effects of cigarette ash dropping onto the apron or extinguishing a cigarette on the fabric. 

2 - Extinguishing a Lighter: Demonstrates the apron’s extinguishing effect when a cigarette lighter flame is held close. 

3 - Impact of Holding a Lighter: Shows the material discoloration and weakening when a lighter is held 1 inch away for an extended period of time (no hole created). 

4 - We purposefully Create a Hole! Depicts creating a hole by excessively pushing a lit cigarette onto stretched material over an extended period of time .


5 - Self-Extinguishing on the Wearer: What happens if someone extinguishes a cigarette on themselves while wearing the apron. 

Flame retardant aprons