FIRE bosses today revealed illicit cigarette dealers are risking thousands of lives in Lancashire because banned cigarettes smoulder for longer than regulated legal cigarettes.
Cigarettes are the biggest cause of house fires in Lancashire, and in November new rules were brought in to make cigarettes sold in the UK “fire safe”, meaning they are manufactured extinguish themselves when discarded.
However, Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service, which is supporting the Evening Posts Don’t Let Them Make a Packet campaign, believes smokers who use illicit cigarettes are more likely to die in house fires because black market brands do not extinguish themselves.
Station Officer Mark Hutton said: “ The illicit tobacco trade is undermining the fire service’s efforts to reduce the fire hazard to smokers with potentially fatal consequences to the smoker and their families.”
It comes after 71-year-old June Buffham from Lincolnshire died last April when she fell asleep whilst smoking a banned Jin Ling cigarette - the same brand sold by some Lancashire dealers.
It prompted the South Lincolnshire coroner to appeal for more to be done to make people aware of the dangers.
Smouldering cigarettes cause around 30 fire deaths in every 1,000 fires each year compared to eight deaths for all other causes put together.