Birmingham health authority chair Bryan Stoten has highlighted the death of a 53-year-old Solihull woman in a plea to smokers not to smoke at home, and particularly not in bed. She died after suffering 40 per cent burns in a fire that started after she fell asleep while smoking.

Mr Stoten said he was concerned that the long Christmas and new year holidays would increase the risk of house fires and pleaded with smokers who could not give up to smoke outside.