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It only takes one carelessly discarded cigarette to start a fatal fire in your home. Disposing cigarettes, cigars, matches and lighters carelessly are the single biggest killer in house fires across the United Kingdom.

Falling asleep with a cigarette in your hand in bed or on the sofa, for example, will immediately put your life in danger so if you wish to smoke when you are in bed or tired….go and stand next to an open window or door where you can get some fresh air to keep you alert and put out the cigarette butt under some running water or in your toilet bowl to ensure the cig has gone out and will not relight.

If you are a smoker it is essential that you understand how dangerous smoking at home can be.  Is it really worth losing everything, including your life, just to have a cigarette in bed because you are too tired to get out of bed?

Here are some top tips….

Smoke outside

  • Avoid the danger of a fire starting inside the home by only smoking outside.
  • This helps other family members avoid passive smoking.

If you smoke indoors

  • Stub cigarettes out properly and dispose of them carefully.  Put them right out or run some water from tap and put butt under to make sure it is out!
  • Don’t leave lit cigarettes, cigars or pipes unattended in ashtrays. They can easily overbalance as they burn down, land on a carpet or newspaper and start a fire.
  • Use a proper, heavy ashtray which can’t tip over easily and is made of a material that won’t burn.
  • Tap your ash into an ashtray. Never a wastebasket and don’t let the ash or cigarette ends build up in the ashtray.
  • Take extra care when you’re tired, taking prescription drugs or have been drinking alcohol. It’s very easy to fall asleep without realising that your cigarette is still burning.
  • If you need to lie down, don’t light up. You could easily doze off and set your bed or sofa on fire.

Matches and Lighters matches

  • Every year children die from starting fires with cigarettes, matches and lighters which they shouldn’t have. Keep these where children can’t reach them
  • Where possible, buy child-resistant lighters and matchboxes.


E-cigarettes use a rechargeable battery. Nationally there have been a number of incidents of the battery either overheating or exploding during the charging process. If you use an e-cigarette:

  • Purchase your e-cigarette from a reputable source.
  • Check the e-cigarette carries CE certification.
  • Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Only use the charger supplied.
  • Never leave it unattended when it’s on charge.
  • Don’t overcharge. Remove the battery from charge when it’s complete.
  • Check your battery has overcharge or overheat protection.
  • If the battery is damaged or has been dropped or struck don’t charge it.
  • Don’t use your e-cigarette if it is wet.
  • Don’t over tighten the atomizer when connecting it to the charger.

Other top tips

  • Fit a smoke alarm and test it weekly. Working smoke alarms could buy you valuable time to get out, stay out and call 999.
  • Carry out a home fire risk assessment to find and evaluate the possible risks and plan to solve the risk.
  • Make an escape plan.  Sit down and make an escape plan with family members so that everyone knows what to do if there is a fire at home.
  • Practice the escape plan by carrying out regular fire drills and include children and pets.
  • Give each family member a role and responsibilities, (picking up pets, phoning 999) so everyone knows what they need to do.


Check out our other tips here