Better Care

How to have a safe, smoke-free Christmas

stop smoking
Members of the stop smoking team are on hand to offer help and advice at the Quit-Stop shop in Northfield.

This Christmas, people who smoke will not only be damaging their health but also risking the safety of their family and home, according to the NHS and the Fire Service.

With the New Year on the horizon, Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Trust (BCHC) is urging smokers to consider quitting and bring healthier habits into 2011.

David Jones, operational manager at BCHC’s stop smoking service, said: “It’s never too late to stop smoking and the health benefits of quitting can be seen after just 20 minutes and will carry on for years.

“If a ten-a-day smoker quits now, by the time next Christmas is here they will have saved over £1,000.

“Last year, NHS Stop Smoking Service helped almost 10,000 people in Birmingham quit through free and professional advice available throughout the city.”

Meanwhile West Midlands Fire Service (WMFS) stressed the need for smokers to take proper care of smoking materials like cigarettes, matches and pipes.

According to the latest available statistics, between 2006 and 2010, smoking materials were deemed to be a contributory factor in 44 percent of fatal fires in the home on average.

Dave Smithson, a group commander at WMFS, said:  “The consequences of a badly discarded cigarette or match for example, can be devastating and even fatal.

“People who smoke late at night are particularly at risk, especially if they are tired or have been drinking.  Many fires start from a dropped cigarette when people fall asleep.”

By following the tips below, people can reduce the chances of having a fire:

  • Make sure that cigarettes, matches and other smoking materials are kept in a safe place and out of the reach of children

  • Ensure smoking materials are properly extinguished and placed in a suitable ash tray.  If you have a party over the festive season, check that there are enough around for people to use

  • Avoid smoking in bed or late at night if you are tired and especially if you have been drinking.


“One of the sad things is that these types of fire are so preventable.  Taking these simple precautions could save your life or the lives of others”, added Mr Smithson.

Smokers are four times more likely to stop with NHS support. To find your nearest NHS stop smoking advisor call 0800 0525855 or text QUIT to 80800.

For fire safety advice or a free home safety check carried out by trained firefighters, phone 0800 389 5525.