Firefighters warn about the dangers of smoking at home

Date published: 13 March 2021


Nineteen people died in house fires started by carelessly discarded smoking materials in Greater Manchester in three years, it has been revealed.

As the nation marked this year’s No Smoking Day (on March 10) firefighters from Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS) reminded people of the dangers of smoking at home.

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.

Smoking is one of the biggest causes of death and illness in the UK, with house fires from smokers’ materials resulting in the most fire-related fatalities.

Nearly one quarter of all accidental house fire deaths in 2019/20 were caused by smoking materials.

Area Manager Paul Duggan, GMFRS’ Head of Prevention, said: “The most effective way to prevent a smoking-related fire in your home is to quit or to smoke outdoors.

"The best way to quit smoking is using a combination of medication and support and these are available for free on the NHS.

"For support to quit in your local area, access the Greater Manchester Health Hub.

“If you do smoke then please make sure you put your smoking materials completely out.

"Putting a small amount of water on your ashes or cigarette butts is a quick and simple way to make sure you are not at risk of a fire starting in your home.

"Make sure you have a working smoke alarm and never ever be tempted to smoke in bed or when you’re feeling drowsy.

“In Greater Manchester, house fires caused by smoking are most likely to kill – with 19 people losing their lives between April 2017 and March 2020.

"This is a stark reminder just how deadly smoking can be.”

If you smoke, GMFRS advises you to:

Stub your smoking materials 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-bottomed ashtray

Make sure your ashtray won't tip over and is made of material that won't burn

Never smoke in bed

Fit a minimum of one smoke alarm on every floor of your home and make sure you test it often

A working smoke alarm can buy you valuable time to get out, stay out and call 999

Find more information about smoking safely at home by visiting GMFRS’ website.

Smokers in Greater Manchester wanting to quit can visit YouCanGM.org to find information and details of stop smoking services and support across all ten boroughs of Greater Manchester, or call the NHS Stop Smoking helpline free on 0300 123 1044.


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