The London Fire Brigade has issued an urgent warning about the threat posed by foreign and illicit cigarettes following the deaths of a mother and daughter in Plumstead, London.

Foreign cigarettes which do not comply with European Safety Standards caused the house fire which killed Caroline and Hayleigh Kaur, the inquest into their deaths concluded.

Since 2011 all cigarettes legally sold in the UK feature a special design which prompts them to extinguish if left burning unattended, however many foreign and illicit cigarettes do not.

The cigarettes believed to have started the house fire in Plumstead came from India.

“We’re urging all smokers to only buy cigarettes that meet European Union safety standards and never to throw smouldering cigarettes or hot ash into rubbish bins,” the London Fire Brigade said.

Last year there was a 13% reduction in the number of fires caused by cigarettes, however the London Fire Brigade said this figure was still “less” than it had hoped.

“It had been estimated that cigarette fires could be slashed by as much as a third because of the introduction of safer cigarettes. Illicit cigarettes and cigarettes brought in from outside the EU for personal use could be one of the factors to blame,” the Brigade said.