Advice for smokers
Smokers are the biggest cause of fire-related deaths in the home. In 2012/13 there were 266 fire related deaths within domestic premises of which 40% were caused by careless disposal of cigarettes.
The average damage caused by a house fire costs £25,500, compared to the £8 average cost of a packet of 20 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.