1993 Ford Explorer, 286K miles. Smoke out of Dashboard

Couple questions. basic info above, car runs well. one day cigarette lighter quit working, 15 miles at 70 miles an hour a huge puff of smoke comes pouring out of the Dashboard as i came to a fairly sudden stop. the smoke smelled like fire smoke (as apposed to sweet smell or smell of burning rubber). i pulled over and nothing really looked unusual, but i am a moron. any help would be appreciated 1 - are these two related? 2- what could cause this?

Are you saying that the cigarette lighter quit working and then 15 miles (about 13 minutes) later the smoke showed up.  Yea, they likely were related.  

Question, what was being powered by the power point (they don't call them lighters any more.)?  

My guess is a failure of the power point or what was plugged into it caused an excessive power surge and kept getting hotter until something reached the melting/burning point. Likely sometime around there a fuse blew.  Look for the reason it went first and fix that before trying to replace the fuse.  Remember the real cause could have been what was plugged in.

I had the same thing happen years ago on a Ford Maverick that I owned. I had not owned the car very long and had had the air conditioning recharged by the dealer. On the way home, this problem occured. The service manager said that it was nothing–cars sometimes did this after the air conditioning was serviced. Later on that evening, we took a ride and my wife kept smelling something hot. I felt the dashboard and the ashtray which contained the cigarette lighter was hot to the touch. When I opened the ashtray, I was greeted by a shower of sparks. I disconnected the lighter (I had quit smoking at the time) and eliminated the problem. I think that the lighter socket was worn and the element somehow was on when the ignition was on. Fortunately, the lighter was wired through the ignition switch.