October 25, 2007 – Today’s announcement by R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company that it will manufacture all of its cigarette brands using “fire-safe” technology (PDF, 29 KB) is a victory for all of those interested in public safety, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the group it coordinates, the Coalition for Fire-Safe Cigarettes.“Nearly two years ago, we began urging major tobacco companies to switch to this life-saving technology,” said James M. Shannon, NFPA’s president. “While it could have been done sooner, I applaud their action and urge every other tobacco company to do the same. There is no reason everyone in the country shouldn’t have the same protection.”
Cigarette-ignited fires are the leading cause of residential fire deaths. Each year in this country, 700 to 900 people die in cigarette-ignited fires. One quarter of those people killed – often including children and the elderly – are not the smoker. So called “fire-safe” cigarettes are designed to self-extinguish if dropped or left unattended. They are less likely to ignite clothing, bedding, or other material.
Absent action by tobacco companies, NFPA and the Coalition coordinated a state-by-state campaign to encourage passage of fire-safe cigarette mandates. To date, 22 states have passed fire-safe cigarette mandates. In 2007 alone, 16 governors from all across the country signed legislation into law. Even states in the heart of tobacco country, such as
“That state-by-state movement has been incredibly successful so far and has resulted in the tipping point for this effort,” continued
“If cigarette manufacturers had begun producing only fire-safe cigarettes 20 years ago,” said
The Coalition for Fire-Safe Cigarettes will keep working until all cigarettes are manufactured to self-extinguish. The Coalition for Fire-Safe Cigarettes was officially launched by NFPA in March 2006. The Coalition, which includes fire service members; medical and public health practitioners; advocates for consumers, the elderly, and people with disabilities; and others, is committed to saving lives and preventing injuries by reducing the threat of cigarette-ignited fires. For more information, please visit the Coalition’s Web site.
Contact: Lorraine Carli, Public Affairs Office: +1-617-984-7275