Smoking-related house fires killed seven people in 2015
SEVEN people lost their lives in house fires caused by smoking last year.
The Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service (NIFRS) attended a total of 69 accidental blazes linked to smoking during 2015.
The statistics were released yesterday to coincide with No Smoking Day.
NIFRS group commander Kevin O'Neill said the risks should not be underestimated.
"Unfortunately our firefighters witness first-hand the damage and devastation caused by fires in the home started by smoking materials," he said.
"These types of fires can spread rapidly and within moments through a house. Property can be replaced but a life cannot.
"Giving up is obviously the best way to reduce the risk of a smoking-related fire, however we appreciate for some smokers kicking the habit can be extremely tough, therefore I would remind them to be extra careful if they are smoking or disposing of smoking materials in their home."
NIFRS is supporting the Proud to be a Quitter campaign and urged people to stop smoking to improve their health as well as helping with fire safety.
"People know the health risks of smoking but they should not underestimate the risks associated with smoking in the home if cigarettes and smoking materials are not extinguished properly," said Mr O'Neill.
"It is vital that smokers understand how dangerous smoking at home can be.
"Be proud to be a quitter on No Smoking Day, but don't forget to stub out fire risks in the home."