Massachusetts to require Fire-Safe Cigarettes

Published on July 10, 2006
More than 25% of people in the U.S. now have life-saving requirements in place

July 10, 2006 — For the third time this year, another state joined the national movement to enhance public safety by mandating that all cigarettes sold in their state be “fire-safe.” Such cigarettes are less likely to ignite fires if dropped or carelessly discarded.

Saturday, Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney signed into law legislation which requires that, beginning in January of 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. Illinois and New Hampshire signed similar legislation in May.

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. Massachusetts joins New York, Vermont, California, Illinois and New Hampshire in mandating the sale of “fire-safe” cigarettes only. 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. “This action in Massachusetts means that more than 25 percent of Americans will be better protected from devastating cigarette fires. It is another important milestone in our efforts to see legislation passed in every state.”

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, and is working to see fire-safe cigarette legislation passed in every state.

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 Health Care Association, American Society for Testing and Materials International, Asian American Hotel Owners Association, 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 Safety Council, National Volunteer Fire Council, Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors, Public Citizen, Safe Kids Worldwide, Trauma Foundation, Uniform Fire Code Association, and the Western Fire Chiefs Association . For more information visit, http://www.firesafecigarettes.org.

Contact: Lorraine CarliPublic Affairs Office: +1 617-984-7275