Wake up to the danger of a fire caused by smoking

Mon 1 Apr, 2019

Cigarette ends starting to burn furniture

Smokers are being urged to wake up to the deadly dangers of smoking - especially when tired.

As part of the national Fire Kills campaign, Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service is reminding people that cigarettes and other smoking products are the biggest single cause of accidental fire deaths in the home.

Habits such as lighting up in bed, or smoking while drinking alcohol in the home, are responsible for a third of all deaths in accidental fires in homes in England, government figures show.

Ismokers fall asleep with a lit cigarette in hand, their proximity to the resulting fire seriously lowers their chance of making an escape. 

The campaign is reminding smokers to ‘put it out, right out’ when they have finished smoking, and to install and test smoke alarms on every level of the home.

These simple steps can help prevent a cigarette fire:

- Never smoke in bed. Take care when you’re tired – it’s very easy to fall asleep while your cigarette is still burning and set furniture alight

- Never smoke when under the influence of drugs or alcohol. If your lit cigarette starts a fire you could be less able to escape.  

- Put it out, right out! Make sure your cigarette is fully extinguished

- Fit smoke alarms on every level of your home and test them monthly. A working smoke alarm can buy you valuable time to get out, stay out and call 999

- Never leave lit cigarettes, cigars or pipes unattended – they can easily overbalance as they burn down

- Use a proper, heavy ashtray that can’t tip over easily and is made of a material that won’t burn. 

Joanne Cook, head of Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service's community safety team, said: "Every five days, someone dies from a fire caused by cigarettes or smoking materials. Despite a fall in the overall number of fires caused by these products, it’s still the biggest cause of accidental fires in the home across the country. 

“Every smoker should wake up to the risks they take every time they light up, and drop the habit of smoking in bed or under the influence of alcohol. The risk of falling asleep while smoking is just too great."

She added: "Counterfeit cigarettes pose an even bigger fire risk than genuine ones as, once lit, they don't self-extinguish when they are not actively being smoked. This increases the fire risk if they are dropped, left burning in an ashtray or if the smoker falls asleep.

“Cigarettes flicked from car windows or while walking down the street can also cause fires which can spread rapidly, damaging buildings and tying up valuable emergency service resources."