Lawmakers, fire officials, advocates and victims’ families celebrate passage of Fire-Safe Cigarettes Bill

Published on July 25, 2006

Boston, July 25, 2006—Lawmakers, fire officials, advocates and victims’ families celebrated the passage of the Fire-Safe Cigarettes Bill on Tuesday at a state house reception. On July 8, Governor Romney signed the bill into law, making Massachusetts the sixth state in the country to require tobacco companies to sell only self-extinguishing cigarettes.

Cigarette-ignited fires are the leading cause of home fire deaths in Massachusetts and nationwide, killing 700 to 900 Americans each year according to the National Fire Protection Association. According to the most recent year of analyzed fire data, cigarettes caused 1,386 fires in Massachusetts. The bill was championed by state Senator Stephen Brewer (Barre) and state Representative Rachel Kaprielian (Watertown), the lead sponsors in the legislature.

Similar laws requiring self-extinguishing cigarettes have passed in California, New York, Vermont, Illinois, New Hampshire and for the entire country of Canada.

The bill was named for the Kearney family of West Roxbury who lost six people in one of Boston’s deadliest fires, a 1990 Roslindale blaze that claimed the lives of Maureen Kearney O'Neill; her husband, Myles; their three daughters Charlene, 3; Stacy, 2; and Liana, 10 months, and a family friend. At the state house reception a coalition of fire safety groups, the Massachusetts Coalition for Fire-Safe Cigarettes, presented Sen. Brewer, Representative Kaprielian and members of the Kearney family with awards for their tireless effort in passing the bill. The Massachusetts Coalition for Fire-Safe Cigarettes includes American Academy of Pediatrics, MA chapter, American Burn Association, American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, American Lung Association of MA, American Lung Association of Norfolk County, American Lung Association of Western MA, Asthma & Allergy Foundation of America, NE Chapter, Boston Public Health Commission,
Members of the Kearney family accept an award for their efforts in getting the bill signed in Massachusetts. 
Campaign For Tobacco Free Kids, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Fire Chiefs Association of MA, Fire Prevention Officers Association of MA, Firefighters Burn Fund, Victoria, B.C., GlaxoSmithKline, Harvard University Health Services, Institute for Health and Recovery, International Association of Black Firefighters, Massachusetts Academy of Family Physicians, Massachusetts Association of Health Boards, Massachusetts Association of Health Nurses, Massachusetts Association of Health Plans, Massachusetts Association of Public Health Nurses, Massachusetts Call/ Volunteer Firefighters Association, Massachusetts Consumers Coalition, Massachusetts Medical Society, Massachusetts Nurses Association, Massachusetts Public Health Association, Massachusetts Pharmacists Association, MASSPIRG, Massachusetts Prevention Center of Greater Western MA, The Medical Foundation, National Fire Protection Association, Natick Kiwanis Club, New England Coalition for Cancer Survivorship, The Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors, Professional Firefighters of Massachusetts, Quincy Firefighters Association 792, Statewide Coordinating Committee of the MA Tobacco Control Program, Shriners Burn Hospital, Boston, Tobacco Control Research Center, Tobacco Free Mass Coalition, Dr. Jeffrey Wigand, Smoke-Free Kids, Inc.

Contact: Lorraine Carli, NFPA Public Affairs Office, +1 617 984-7275
Eric Bourassa, MASSPIRG, +1 617 747-4314