Accidental fires started by smoking materials kill more people than any other type of fire

Author: Richard Prime – Communications Officer, Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service

Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service (HWFRS) is supporting National No Smoking Day on Wednesday 13 March.

While smoking is one of the biggest causes of death and illness in the United Kingdom, accidental fires started by cigarettes and other smoking materials kill more people than any other type of fire.

These incidents are most likely to happen in the living room, closely followed by the bedroom.

HWFRS is calling on smokers to quit if they can but to otherwise always be vigilant when smoking or disposing of materials.

Emma Roberts, HWFRS Head of Prevention, said: “No Smoking Day on 13 March provides us with the ideal opportunity to encourage people to consider giving up smoking.

“Where this isn’t possible, we are asking people to be extra vigilant when putting out cigarettes.

“Quitting smoking altogether is the best way to remove the risk of having a cigarette/smokers’ material-related fire.

“But if you do smoke please remember to ensure you put your Cigarettes Out, Right Out.”

Here are some useful tips to avoid smoking-related fires:

  • the best way to reduce the risk is to quit.
  • smoke outdoors if you can and put cigarettes out, right out
  • never smoke in bed or in a chair where you might fall asleep
  • take extra care if you smoke when you’re tired, taking prescription drugs or if you’ve been drinking. You might fall asleep and set your bed or sofa on fire
  • don’t leave a lit cigarette, cigar or pipe lying around. They can easily fall over and start a fire
  • use a proper ashtray and stub the cigarette out completely – never a wastepaper basket
  • make sure your ashtray is fireproof and can’t tip over. Don’t empty your ashtray into an internal bin directly before going to bed or leaving the house where hot embers could grow into a fire unnoticed
  • never discard cigarettes or smoking materials on or over balconies
  • counterfeit and illegal cigarettes can increase fire risk. If you are not ready to quit, only buy legal cigarettes
  • consider buying child-resistant lighters and match boxes
  • keep matches and lighters out of children’s reach
  • the easiest way to protect your home and family from fire is with working smoke alarms – get them, install them, test them. They could save your life
  • fit at least one on every level of your home and test them weekly

The NHS has many stop smoking services which are free, friendly and can massively boost your chances.

More information can be found at

Anyone who thinks they might qualify for a free Home Fire Safety visit can call the HWFRS Prevention team on 0800 032 1155.

People can complete a free online Home Fire Safety check at

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