Smoking safety

Smoking safety

Smoking is the top cause of accidental fire deaths nationally and in Greater Manchester.

19 people died in house fires started by carelessly discarded smoking materials in Greater Manchester in the last three years (between April 2017 and March 2020).

Fire crews across the city-region attended 519 fires caused by carelessly discarded smoking materials between April 2017 and March 2020, with crew members responding to 175 incidents of this type from April 2019 to March 2020.

Safety Advice - put it out, put it right out

  • Stub your smoking material out properly – put it out, put it right out
  • Don't leave a lit cigarette, cigar or pipe lying around. They can easily fall over and start a fire
  • Use a proper heavy wide-bottom ashtray, never a wastepaper basket
  • Make sure your ashtray won't tip over and is made of material that won't burn
  • Keep a small amount of water in the bottom of your ashtray to help to make sure your smoking materials have definitely been extinguished when you stub them out
  • Dispose of your smoking materials carefully
  • Ensure that contents of ashtrays are cold before they are emptied into a suitable bin outdoors. Putting water on ashes or butts is a good idea
  • Take care if you smoke when you’re tired as it’s easy to fall asleep with a cigarette burning and set furniture, clothes or bedding alight
  • NEVER smoke in bed 
  • Don’t smoke if you’ve taken medication, drugs or alcohol that makes you tired or drowsy. If you do smoke in this situation, take extra care or smoke outdoors
  • Never smoke illegally manufactured cigarettes
  • Never smoke, or let someone else smoke in the same room as you, when oxygen equipment or an air flow pressure relief mattress is being use
  • If paraffin-based or paraffin-free emollient products, such as creams, get onto fabrics, the dried residue will make the fabric more flammable. Don’t smoke if there is any risk that you, or anyone near you, have clothes, bedding or bandages contaminated with emollient residue
  • Always keep matches and lighters away from children
  • Buy child resistant lighters and matchboxes
  • Fit a minimum of one smoke alarm on every floor of your home and test alarms weekly. A working smoke alarm can buy you valuable time to get out, stay out and call 999

Download our smoking and fire safety leaflet (PDF opens new window)

Quitting Smoking or having a Smokefree Home

Quitting smoking is the best way to prevent a smoking related fire at home.

This October why not join the millions who have quit smoking already and start breathing easier. More information on Stoptober, this year's annual Public Health England campaign, can be found on the NHS website. (Link opens in new window)

For more information about Greater Manchester's Stop Smoking Service and support please visit the GM Health Hub. (Link opens in new window)

Smokers in Greater Manchester can visit YouCanGM.org (Link opens new window) to find information, advice and details of stop smoking support services across all 10 boroughs of Greater Manchester or call the NHS Stop Smoking helpline for free on 0300 123 1044. Due to the current situation relating to COVID-19, services may be moving their offer of support to telephone or online advice

Having a smoke free home is another good way to prevent a fire in your home. If you are self-isolating, try to smoke outdoors if you have a garden or outdoor space. 

Further Information