class="story-body__introduction">South Korean tech giant Samsung has permanently ceased production of its high-end Galaxy Note 7 smartphones after reports of devices it had deemed safe catching fire.The firm had already reduced Galaxy Note 7 production volumes. Owners are expected to be able to return the phones for a refund or an exchange for a different Samsung phone. The firm had earlier said it would stop sales of the phone. "We recently readjusted the production volume for thorough investigation and quality control, but putting consumer safety as top priority, we have reached a final decision to halt production of Galaxy Note 7s," the company said. "For the benefit of consumers' safety, we stopped sales and exchanges of the Galaxy Note 7 and have consequently decided to stop production." Earlier, consumer tech analyst Caroline Milanesi of Creative Strategies told the BBC that Samsung should "call it a day" on production of the Galaxy Note 7 to limit long-term risk to the brand. However, South Korea's finance minister had warned that the country's exports would be hurt if the phone model was scrapped. Smoke emissions In September, Samsung recalled around 2.5 million phones after complaints of exploding batteries. It later insisted that all replaced devices were safe. However, that was followed by reports that those phones were catching fire too. A Kentucky man said he woke up to a bedroom full of smoke from a replaced Note 7, days after a domestic flight in the US was evacuated after a new device started emitting smoke in the cabin. Even as late as Monday evening, a spokeswoman insisted the phones were safe to use. But on Tuesday, the company said it would stop Galaxy Note 7 production. Authorities in the US and South Korea are investigating why even the replacement Note 7 phones that Samsung equipped with a safer battery reportedly caught fire. An official at the South Korean safety agency said the replacement phones might have a defect that was different from the problem with the original Galaxy Note 7s.