Illinois to require Fire Safe Cigarettes

Published on May 19, 2006
Illinois to require Fire-Safe Cigarettes
Three of five largest population states in the U.S. now have life-saving requirements in place
May 19, 2006 — Today, Illinois became the latest state to enhance public safety by mandating that all cigarettes sold in the state be “fire-safe.” Such cigarettes are less likely to ignite fires if dropped or carelessly discarded.

Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich signed into law the Cigarette Fire Safety Standard Act which requires that, beginning in 2008, all cigarettes sold in the state be low-ignition strength (commonly referred to as “fire-safe”) -- as established by recognized standards. Such cigarettes have been proven to be far less likely to ignite clothing, bedding, or other material if left unattended.

Cigarette-ignited fires are the leading cause of home fire deaths in the United States, killing 700 to 900 people annually, smokers and non-smokers alike. Illinois joins New York State, California, and Vermont in mandating the sale of “fire-safe” cigarettes only. A fire-safe cigarette bill in New Hampshire is awaiting signature by the governor. Several other states, including Massachusetts, are considering similar laws. Fire-safe cigarettes are also mandated throughout all of Canada.

“Fire-safe cigarettes provide us with the greatest potential to make the next big leap in fire protection,” said James M. Shannon, president of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) -- a member of the Coalition for Fire-Safe Cigarettes. “By joining New York, Vermont, and California, today’s action in Illinois means that approximately 25 percent of Americans will be better protected from devastating cigarette fires.”

“It’s time for the tobacco companies to quit stalling on this issue,” said Shannon. “They can and should switch to fire-safe cigarettes everywhere right now, and save more than 700 lives each year. Every day they wait more people will die.”

The Coalition for Fire-Safe Cigarettes, officially launched in March, 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 gathering support nationwide through an online petition.

Jim Burns, president of the National Association of State Fire Marshals (NASFM) and the New York State Fire Administrator said during a recent Coalition event, “Nationwide use of fire safe cigarettes will be one of the most important steps we can take to make people safer from fires. The tobacco companies can put an early end to this process by agreeing to manufacture only fire-safe cigarettes.”

The Coalition for Fire-Safe Cigarettes is coordinated by NFPA and includes the American Association of Retired Persons, AMERIND Risk Management Corporation, American Burn Association, American Fire Sprinkler Association, American Society for Testing and Materials International, Center for Campus Fire Safety, Center for Social Gerontology, Home Safety Council, 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, Metropolitan Fire Chiefs, National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians, National Association of Hispanic Firefighters, National Association of State Fire Marshals, National Fallen Firefighters Foundation, National Fire Protection Association, National Fire Sprinkler Association, National Native American Fire Chiefs Association, National Volunteer Fire Council, Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors, Public Citizen, Safe Kids Worldwide, Trauma Foundation, Uniform Fire Code, and the Western Fire Chiefs Association.

Contact: Lorraine Carli, Public Affairs Office: +1-617-984-7275

Bottom blue line

Free access     NEC      Sparky the Fire Dog        NFPA Conference & Expo         NFPA Journal         Sprinklers       Wildland fires