Learn how to reduce the risk of fires as a result of smoking

Smoking is a fire risk

In Scotland, smoking is the main cause of death from fires in the home. You can cut the chances of this happening to you by:

  • stubbing out cigarettes in an ashtray
  • pouring water on cigar and cigarette ends before putting in a bin, ideally an outside bin
  • never leaving a cigarette, cigar or pipe unattended
  • avoiding balancing cigars or cigarettes on the edge of an ashtray
  • never emptying a pipe into a bin

This safety information is also available in our smoking and alcohol leaflet

We have also produced a safety awareness video that helps to convey the consequences of smoking carelessly.

Ashtray safety

Using a proper ashtray is a good start to stopping fires from smoking.

Always empty and clean your ashtray. Douse your ashtray with water before putting the contents in the bin. Use an outside metal bin if possible.

Ensure to keep paper and other flammable materials out of your ashtray.

Alcohol and sleepiness

Many fires started by cigarettes happen to people who have also been drinking and are sleepy.

Always take extra care when alcohol is in the equation. If you're drinking or are feeling tired, never smoke in bed or on an armchair or sofa. If you do feel sleepy, smoke outside, standing up or smoke at an open window or an outside door.

Matches and lighters

Starting fires is what matches and lighters are for. Make sure they only start the ones you want by:

  • keeping matches and lighters out of reach of children, and away from heat sources
  • teaching children not to play with matches and lighters
  • buying safety matches, which are the ones that only strike on the box
  • buying lighters with safety locks and that go out when you let go of them
  • making sure matches are out before you put them down.
  • never throwing used matches straight into the bin

Related content

Smoke and heat alarms

Fire and smoke alarms are essential for home safety. Learn about what to buy, how to install them, and why you need them in your home