Fire-safe cigarette bills now under consideration in 19 states
UPDATE: February 26, 2007: Minnesota, Ohio, and Tennessee have filed fire-safe cigarette legislation, bringing the number of states that have fire-safe cigarette bills pending to 22.
February 15, 2007 (Boston, MA) — The Coalition for Fire-Safe Cigarettes, a national group of fire service members, consumer and disability rights advocates, medical and public health practitioners, and others, coordinated by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), announced today. Such cigarettes must meet a specific fire safety standard and are less likely than traditional cigarettes to cause a fire if left unattended.
“Hundreds of lives are lost each year to fires caused by smoking materials. Yet the technology for fire-safe cigarettes exists and is working,” said James M. Shannon, president and CEO of NFPA. Legislation being considered all across the country will help stop the senseless loss of life caused by these fires.”
Cigarette-ignited fires are the leading cause of home fire deaths in the United States,killing 700 to 900 people annually, according to NFPA. Additionally, thousands of victims suffer devastating burn and lung injuries, and property losses total hundreds of millions of dollars each year. One in four cigarette victims is not the smoker, and many of the victims are children.
According to the Coalition, the most common technology used to make fire-safe cigarettes is with special banded paper that slows down and extinguishes a cigarette’s burn if the smoker is not actually puffing on it.
The 19 states that have already filed fire-safe cigarette legislation this term include Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wisconsin. More bills are expected to be filed soon. Six states — New York, California, Illinois. Massachusetts, New Hampshire, a nd Vermont— have such laws already on the books, covering more than 25 percent of the American people. Canadarequires such cigarettes nationwide as well.
“If the tobacco companies are not willing to produce fire-safe cigarettes on their own, the various state legislatures must act,” said Shannon. “Fire-safe cigarette legislation is a simple, effective way to save lives and better protect firefighters from the risk associated with these fires.”
Members of the Coalition for Fire-Safe Cigarettes as of February 1, 2007:
- American Association of Retired Persons
- American Burn Association
- American Collegeof Emergency Physicians
- American Fire Sprinkler Association
- American Health Care Association
- American Society of Testing and Materials International
- AMERIND Risk Management Corporation
- Asian American Hotel Owners Association
- Automatic Fire Alarm Association, Inc.
- BostonSociety of Vulcans
- Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturer’s Association
- Center for Campus Fire Safety
- Center for Social Gerontology, Inc.
- Firemen’s Association of the State of
- FloridaAssociation of Fire & Life Safety Educators
- Harvard Schoolof Public Health
- Home Safety Council
- IllinoisFire 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
- MassachusettsCall/Volunteer Firefighters Associations
- MassachusettsCoalition 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 Centerfor Assisted Living
- 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
- PhoenixSociety for Burn Survivors
- Polyurethane Foam Association
- Property Casualty Insurers Association of America
- Public Citizen
- Safe Kids Worldwide
- Trauma Foundation
- Uniform Fire Code Association
- WashingtonFire Chiefs
- Western Fire Chiefs Association