News releasesKentucky will require fire-safe cigarettes
Legislation signed by Governor Fletcher will help protect Kentuckians against cigarette-ignited fires
March 27, 2007 (Frankfort , KY) — Today, Kentucky became the eighth state to mandate that all cigarettes sold in state will be “fire-safe.” These cigarettes are less likely to ignite fires when dropped or discarded. The tremendous danger posed by cigarette-ignited fires was demonstrated in Kentucky last month when a fire started by a smoldering cigarette in a Bardstown home took the lives of 10 members of the same family. Cigarette-ignited fires are the leading cause of home fire deaths in the United States, killing 700 to 900 people annually.
Governor Ernie Fletcher signed the legislation into law today, requiring that all cigarettes sold in Kentucky as of April 2008 be low-ignition strength (or fire-safe) as established by recognized standards. The use of cigarettes that have a reduced propensity to burn when left unattended will help prevent tens of thousands of cigarette-ignited fires each year.
“Fire-safe cigarettes have proven to be an effective way to protect against these types of fires and provide a huge leap forward in fire protection for Kentuckians,” said James M. Shannon, president of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) — coordinator of the Coalition for Fire-Safe Cigarettes
. “We applaud Governor Fletcher and the Kentucky State Legislature for providing the people of this state with a higher level of safety.”
“Requiring the sale of fire-safe cigarettes throughout Kentucky will lessen the chances that a tragedy like the Bardstown fire will happen again,” said Shannon. “Kentucky, a leading tobacco producing state, is sending a clear message - lives can be saved by altering the ways cigarettes are made. Every state in the country should require the same for its citizens.”
According to the state fire marshal’s office, more than one-third of all structure fires in the state of Kentucky in recent years were caused by cigarettes. From January 1, 2004 to December 31, 2006, 70 percent of the fatalities, 56 percent of the civilian injuries, and 46 percent of the firefighter injuries suffered in Kentucky structure fires were from fires caused by cigarettes.
Kentucky will join New York, Vermont, California, Illinois, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Utah in mandating the sale of “fire-safe” cigarettes only. Fire-safe cigarettes are also mandated throughout all of Canada. Several other states across the country are considering such legislation this session.
Kentucky Governor Ernie Fletcher signs legislation into law that requires that all cigarettes sold in Kentucky as of April 2008 be low-ignition strength (or fire-safe) as established by recognized standards.
The Coalition for Fire-Safe Cigarettes, officially launched in March 2006, includes fire service members; medical and public health practitioners; advocates for consumers, the elderly, and people with disabilities; and others. Coalition members are committed to saving lives and preventing injuries by reducing the threat of cigarette-ignited fires. The Coalition has asked tobacco companies to start selling fire-safe cigarettes nationwide and is working to see fire-safe cigarette legislation passed in every state. For more information, please visit the Coalition’s Web site at www.firesafecigarettes.org
The Coalition is coordinated by NFPA and includes AARP, Alaska Fire Chiefs Association, American Burn Association, American College of Emergency Physicians, American Fire Sprinkler Association, American Health Care Association, AMERIND Risk Management Corporation, Arizona Fire Chiefs Association, Asian American Hotel Owners Association, ASTM International, Automatic Fire Alarm Association, Inc., Boston Society of Vulcans, Burn Foundation, Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturer's Association, Center for Campus Fire Safety, Center for Social Gerontology, Congressional Fire Services Institute, Firemen's Association of the State of New York, Florida Association of Fire & Life Safety Educators, Harvard School of Public Health, Home Safety Council, Illinois Fire Inspectors Association, International Association of Arson Investigators, International Association of Black Professional Fire Fighters, International Association of Fire Chiefs, International Association of Fire Fighters, International Association of Hispanic Firefighters, International Code Council, International Fire Marshals Association, Massachusetts Call/Volunteer Firefighters Association, Massachusetts Coalition for Fire-Safe Cigarettes, Metropolitan Fire Chiefs, National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians, National Association of Hispanic Firefighters, National Association of State Fire Marshals, National Center for Assisted Living, National Fallen Firefighters Foundation, National Fire Sprinkler Association, National Native American Fire Chiefs Association, National Safety Council, National Volunteer Fire Council, New Jersey Fire Prevention and Protection Association, Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors, Polyurethane Foam Association, Property Casualty Insurers Association of America, Public Citizen, Residential Fire Safety Institute, Safe Kids Worldwide Trauma Foundation, Trauma Foundation, Uniform Fire Code Association, Washington State Association of Fire Chiefs, Washington State Fire Fighters’ Association, Western Fire Chiefs Association, and Women in the Fire Service.
Contact: Lorraine Carli, Public Affairs Office: +1-617-984-7275