Ashtray With Cigarettes

How to Minimise The Fire Risks Related To Smoking

This recent news story about a fire at a flat in Hackney has prompted us to write this blog post about the fire risk attached to smoking.

While the number of smokers in the UK is on the decrease, smoking remains a major cause of fire fatalities.

The ideal answer for all kinds of reasons is to give up smoking or switch to an alternative source of nicotine, but if this is not an option, we have some advice that can help smokers reduce the risk of fire. If you don’t smoke yourself but know a smoker, please share this information with them.

  • Wherever possible smoke outside.
  • When at home, be sure to tap ash into a proper ashtray, never use a waste basket. Don’t let ash or cigarette ends build up in the ashtray.
  • Don’t balance lit cigarettes, cigars or pipes, on flammable surfaces and take care never to leave them unattended.
  • Never smoke in bed and take extra care when tired. If you are lying down don’t light up.
  • Take extra care if there are children at home. Use child resistant lighters and matches and keep them out of sight and reach of children.
  • Try to avoid alcohol and drugs when smoking, it is easy to lose concentration and forget you have lit up.
  • The fire risk associated with smoking isn’t restricted to indoors. If you are smoking in the garden use a pot filled with sand as an outdoor ashtray.
  • Cigarettes thrown from cars can start fires which may result in significant damage, especially during warmer weather when roadside vegetation will be especially dry. The same applies to cigarettes dropped while walking.
  • If you are camping, avoid smoking either in, or near to tents
  • Never smoke around healthcare equipment such as oxygen cylinders and take special care if you are using emollient creams that are paraffin based.

Ensure that your early warning system will alert you should a fire break out by having at least one smoke alarm on each floor of your home and ideally one in each room. Carry out a weekly test of your smoke alarms to make sure that they are in working order. If it is difficult for you to test them yourself perhaps ask a friend or neighbour to help.

If you, or someone you know would like help to stop smoking the NHS offers advice and support here including a free to download app.