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

The best way to reduce the risk of a smoking-related fire in your home is to quit smoking.

Alternatively, switching to vaping electronic cigarettes provides a safer alternative. The number of fires caused by electronic cigarettes is lower than the number caused by tobacco cigarettes.

Another option is to have a smokefree home (smoking outdoors), as this will reduce the risk of a fire in your property.

Visit Make Smoking History (internal webpage) to find information, advice and details of stop smoking support services across Greater Manchester.

Call the NHS Stop Smoking helpline for free on 0300 123 1044

If you’re not ready to quit, switch or go smokefree, follow the fire safety advice below.

Put it out, right out

  • Stub your cigarettes out properly
  • Don’t leave a lit cigarette, cigar or pipe lying around. They can easily fall over and start a fire.
  • Use a proper, heavy ashtray, never a wastepaper basket.
  • Make sure your ashtray can’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 make sure your cigarettes have definitely been extinguished when you stub them out.
  • Dispose of your cigarettes 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 extra care

  • NEVER smoke in bed.
  • Take extra care if you smoke when you’re tired as it’s easy to fall asleep with a cigarette burning and set your bed, sofa or clothes on fire.
  • Don’t smoke if you’ve taken medication, drugs/alcohol that make you tired or drowsy. If you do smoke in this situation, take extra care or smoke outdoors.
  • Never smoke or let anyone else smoke in the same room as someone using home oxygen therapy or where home oxygen therapy is stored.
  • Never smoke on, or near to, an air-filled pressure relieving mattress or device.
  • Don’t smoke if you, or anyone near you, is using emollient creams in contact with skin, clothes, dressing or bandages.
  • Keep the area where you smoke clear of combustible materials.
  • If you’re smoking outdoors, ensure your cigarettes are extinguished properly. Dispose of them safely and don’t drop them onto dry grass or other vegetation.
  • Always keep matches and lighters away from children.
  • Buy child resistant lighters and matchboxes.

Never smoke illegally manufactured cigarettes

Illegally manufactured cigarettes don’t comply with fire safety regulations. So, whilst no cigarette is completely fire-safe, regulated products have thin bands of less-porous cigarette paper along the length of the cigarette, which help to extinguish it if the smoker doesn’t continue to smoke the cigarette. To avoid illegal tobacco, buy known brands that come in dull, plain packaging, carrying a picture and text health warning and a ‘UK Duty Paid’ mark. Legal packs contain a minimum of 20 cigarettes. Buy from a reputable retailer and avoid cheap prices or buying from pubs, clubs, car boot sales, online or on the street.

Smoke and heat alarms

Fit a minimum of one smoke alarm on every floor of your home and a heat alarm in your kitchen. If you smoke indoors, fit a smoke alarm in the rooms where you smoke. Test your alarms at least monthly. Working smoke alarms can buy you valuable time to get out, stay out and call 999.

Download our Smoking and Fire Safety leaflet (PDF, 2.1MB)

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