The London Fire Brigade is backing new legislation to cut the number of deaths caused by fires started by cigarettes.

People killed and injured in fires caused by cigarettes could be dramatically reduced thanks to new European Commission rules, according to the brigade.

A 'fire safer standard' agreed by the European Commission will see changes to all cigarettes sold in the European Union (EU).

By November next year all cigarettes must be manufactured to have bands down the length of the paper. These will make the cigarette go out if it is not inhaled by the smoker.

Chairman of London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority’s Community Safety Committee, Councillor Susan Hall, said: "We have campaigned long and hard for this legislation to be introduced and now it has, it will undoubtedly save lives.

"Cigarettes and other smoking materials are the biggest killer when it comes to accidental house fires, with 78 Londoners losing their lives over the last five years.

"Fire safer cigarettes are good news for London Fire Brigade and good news for the safety of Londoners."

In London, around one in three of all fatalities in accidental house fires is caused by cigarettes and other smoking materials, while London Fire Brigade is called to around 800 house fires a year which are started in this way.

It is estimated that if all cigarettes sold in the EU meet this requirement one to two lives could be saved every day.

If a cigarette does not comply with the legislation trading standards would be able to take action – such as withdrawing the cigarettes from the market.