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Advice for smokers

smoking

Smokers’ materials (e.g. cigarettes, cigars or pipe tobacco) caused the largest share of deaths in accidental dwelling fires (37%) in 2013-14*, and more than a third of fire deaths in non-domestic buildings were caused by smokers’ materials or cigarette lighters.

The average damage caused by a house fire costs £25,500, compared to the £8 average cost of a packet of  20 cigarettes.

Smokers’safety tips

If you smoke, you need to be aware of the fire risks and take steps to avoid them:

  • Take extra care when you’re tired, taking any sort of drugs or have been drinking alcohol. It’s very easy to fall asleep while your cigarette is still burning.
  • Never smoke in bed – if you need to lie down, don’t light up. You could doze off and set your bed on fire. Never smoke in a chair if you think you may doze off in it.
  • Never leave lit cigarettes, cigars or pipes unattended – they can easily overbalance as they burn down.
  • Buy child-resistant lighters and matchboxes – every year children die by starting fires with matches and lighters. Keep these where children can’t reach them.
  • Use a proper, heavy ashtray that can’t tip over easily and is made of a material that won’t burn. Make sure your cigarette is not still burning when you are finished – put it out, right out.
  • Tap your ash into an ashtray, never a wastebasket containing other rubbish – and don’t let the ash or cigarette ends build up in the ashtray.
  • Fit and maintain a smoke alarm – when a fire starts, you only have a few minutes to escape. A working smoke alarm can buy you valuable time to get out, stay out and dial 999. You can get a basic smoke alarm for the same price as a packet of cigarettes. Better still are those smoke alarms with long-life batteries or mains-powered.

Stats from DCLG Fire Statistics: Great Britain April 2013-March 2014

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