Advice for smokers
Smokers are the biggest cause of fire-related deaths in the home. Nearly a third of all households have a smoker living in them. There are an average of 80 deaths, 780 injuries and 2600 fires per year in accidental home fires caused by smoking materials.
The average damage caused by a house fire costs £25,500, compared to the £5 average cost of a packet of cigarettes.
Cigarettes burn at 70°c, they have chemicals in them designed to keep them alight, and they're ideal for starting a fire.
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.