No Smoking Day is a good chance to remember how dangerous smoking can be in the home

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Smoking is one of the biggest causes of death and illness in the UK.

Fires from smokers’ materials still result in the most fire-related fatalities – nearly one quarter of all accidental dwelling fire deaths in 2019/20.

Between 1 Jan 2011 and 31 Dec 2020 there were 257 accidental fires caused by smoking materials in the counties of Herefordshire and Worcestershire. The most common cause was Careless handling – due to careless disposal (68.9%) followed by Careless handling – due to sleep or unconsciousness (12.8%).

The living room and bedroom were the most common place for accidental fires caused by smoking materials to occur (both 22.2%).

“No Smoking Day on 11 March provides us at Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service with an opportunity to encourage people to consider giving up smoking or at least to remember to dispose safely of smoking products,” said HWFRS Community Risk Manager Emma Roberts.

“Quitting smoking altogether is obviously the best way to remove the risk of having a cigarette/smokers’ material-related fire. But if you do smoke, then please remember to ensure you put your cigarettes out, right out.”

Put it out. Right out.

Here are some useful tips:

· if you aren’t ready to give up, take precautions to prevent a fire

· always ensure that cigarettes are fully extinguished

· never smoke in bed

· use a proper ashtray – never a wastepaper basket

· make sure your ashtray can’t tip over and is made of a material that won’t burn

· don’t leave a lit cigarette, cigar or pipe lying around. They can easily fall over and start a fire

· 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

· keep matches and lighters out of children’s reach