Fire safe cigarette legislation continues to sweep the country

Published on April 11, 2008
Five states pass so far this year bringing number to 27

April 11, 2008Virginia, Indiana, Idaho, Washington, and Wisconsinare the latest states to bring an added level of fire safety to their state by joining 22 others in requiring the sale of only fire-safe cigarettes.

Using thicker bands of paper that act as “speed bumps” to slow down the burning, so called fire-safe cigarettes are less likely to ignite clothing, bedding, or other things that can burn if left unattended.

“It’s terrific that over half of the states in this country have chosen to better protect residents from cigarette-ignited fires by passing this legislation, and we want to see this life-saving technology in every state,” said James M. Shannon, president of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) which is coordinating the Coalition for Fire-Safe Cigarettes. “The Coalition has been extremely successful and is well on its way to making this higher level of fire safety a reality for everyone.” 

Between 700 and 900 people die each year in the U.S. as a result of fires caused by cigarettes, according to NFPA. 

Nearly 60 percent of people in the U.S. live in a state where fire-safe cigarette laws have been implemented or will be soon. New York,the first state to pass legislation in 2003, implemented the law in 2004. In addition to New York, fire-safe cigarette mandates have since become effective in eight other states. They are: Vermont, California, Illinois, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Oregon, Maine, and Kentucky.

Montanawill be the next state to implement its fire-safe cigarette law, which is scheduled to go into effect on May 1, 2008. 

Laws have been passed in the following 18 states and have scheduled effective dates through 2010:  Alaska, Connecticut, Delaware, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Montana, New Jersey, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.Several other states are currently considering legislation.   

In 2007, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company announced plans to produce all cigarette brands for the U.S.in accordance with the fire-safety standard by the end of 2009. In March 2008, Liggett Group announced plans to incorporate fire-safe technology into all domestic cigarette brands by 2009.

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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. The 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 www.firesafecigarettes.org.

NFPA has been a worldwide leader in providing fire, electrical, building, and life safety to the public since 1896. The mission of the international nonprofit organization is to reduce the worldwide burden of fire and other hazards on the quality of life by providing and advocating consensus codes and standards, research, training, and education.

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

 

NFPA (National Fire Protection Association)
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