Wiltshire fire chiefs have issued a new warning for smokers to “put it out, right out” after it was revealed that smoking causes more people to die in fires than any other cause.

In the last five years The Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service has seen 11 fire deaths caused by accidental fires in the home resulting from smokers’ materials, which was half of all fire fatalities across the counties.

Fire chiefs say not smoking while tired, using a proper and secure ashtray, and stubbing cigarettes out properly can greatly reduce the risk of an accidental fire starting.

As part of the national Fire Kills campaign, the service is now reminding smokers to “put it out, right out” whenever they light up, and to have working smoke alarms on every level of the home.

A spokesman said simple steps can help prevent a fire in the home if someone smokes.

“Never smoke in bed. Take care when you’re tired – it’s very easy to fall asleep while your cigarette is still burning and set furniture alight,” she said.

She added: “Never smoke when under the influence of drugs or alcohol. If your lit cigarette starts a fire, you could be less able to escape.

“Also, make sure your cigarette or cigar is fully extinguished once finished, never leave lit cigarettes, cigars or pipes unattended as they can easily overbalance as they burn down and use a heavy ashtray that can’t tip over easily and is made of a material that won’t burn. Place it on a level, hard surface rather than on the arm of a chair or sofa.

“And fit a smoke alarm and test it at least monthly. A working smoke alarm can buy you valuable time to get out if there is a fire.”

The emergency service’s safe and well manager, Vikki Thomas said: “Fires ignited by cigarettes or smoking materials result in more fatalities than any other type of fire in the home.

"Every smoker should be aware of the risks they take every time they light up indoors, especially in bed or under the influence of alcohol. The risk of falling asleep before you ‘put it out, right out’ is just too great.”

She added: “If you decide to use e-cigarettes instead, then make sure you use the correct charger and don’t leave anything on charge overnight while you’re asleep.”

More safety information can be found online at www.dwfire.org.uk/smoking-and-e-cigarettes