West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service has sent out the message as part of No Smoking Day today (Wednesday March 8), pointing out that it’s not just a health issue but also one of safety.
In 2016, firefighters attended 30 home fires caused by what is classed as ‘smoking materials’ in West Sussex, with the majority (43%) of these starting in the living room or bedroom.
Falling asleep or becoming distracted was noted as a factor leading to the fire in 27% of these incidents.
Home fires caused by smoking materials are some of the most dangerous nationally; in 2014/15 smoking material fires made up just 6% of all accidental home fires, yet they accounted for 36% of fatalities.
This is far higher than the next most common cause of fatal fires – those started by heating appliances which accounted for 12% of fatalities.
Neil Stocker, Director of Public Protection, said: “We are all aware of the health benefits of stopping smoking; however reducing the risk of a serious fire is another important factor in giving up. Fires caused by smoking materials such as cigarettes, cigars and e-cigarettes can be incredibly serious and we would urge anyone who may be struggling to break the habit to get in touch with their GP or pharmacist to discuss the support that is available to them.”
No Smoking Day is an annual health awareness day which is intended to help smokers who want to quit smoking. The first No Smoking Day was on Ash Wednesday in 1984, and it now takes place each year on the second Wednesday in March.
For more information on how to stop smoking, or for help to quit, visit: www.westsussexwellbeing.org.uk/smokingservices.
For more information on fire safety in the home visit: http://ow.ly/S1V9309Dfz7.