August 6, 2008 - The EU Commission said Tuesday, August 5, 2008 that all cigarettes sold throughout the European Union will be self-extinguishing "fire-safe" brands (reduced ignition propensity (RIP) cigarettes) by 2011. Last year the 27 member states approved a commission proposal which would require the tobacco industry to use fire-retardant paper in all cigarettes to cut down on the number of sometimes fatal fires caused by dropped cigarettes each year. (EU to insist on fire-safe cigarettes..)
It is thought that by 2011 at the latest these cigarettes will be on the market, and that this will not really lead to price increases of cigarettes. Liggett Group, a U.S. cigarette producer voluntarily will convert all of its domestic cigarette production standards to meet all state fire safety standards by January 2009.
Such cigarettes, which go out in a minute if they are not puffed, are already on sale in Canada and parts of the United States. Starting in January 2009 Australia may require all cigarettes manufactured and sold throughout Australia to be self-extinguishing..
Data from 14 EU member states (along with Iceland and Norway) show that cigarette-related fires account for some 11,000 blazes every year, with 520 deaths and 1,600 injuries. The elderly are disproportionately affected. U.S. research shows that cigarettes are the leading cause of home fire fatalities every year, according to the European Commission. Dropped cigarettes are also a major cause of forest fires.
Reference: EU plans 'fire-safe' cigarettes,BBC, 8/6/2008;
EU to force smokers to use `fire-safe' cigarettes, CigarettesOn.com, 5/28/2007.