Arizona only fire-safe cigarettes sold starting August 1, 2009...

August 1, 2009 - A new Arizona law requiring all cigarettes sold in the state to be "fire-safe" goes into effect Saturday, August 1, 2009. The law was signed May 6, 2008, and requires all retail locations to sell only fire safe cigarettes (FSC) to consumers.

If a smoker does not puff on the cigarette for an extended amount of time, the cigarette is less likely to stay lit and more likely to self-extinguish.

According to officials, the new cigarette will reduce the risk of accidentally igniting fires, which, according to the Yuma Fire Department (YFD), is the leading cause of fire-related deaths in the United States.

"In 2006, which was the most recent year we have information on, there were 142,900 smoking material fires in the United States that caused 780 deaths and 1,600 injuries," said Mike Erfert, YFD public information officer. He said firefighters commonly respond to such fires in the Yuma area.

"The state of New York, which was the first to adopt such a law, has shown a reduction in smoking material deaths. If they are not being smoked, they go out, and that should reduce smoking material fires. The most common items first ignited in such fires are upholstered furniture, mattresses and bedding.

"If somebody falls asleep, pretty soon their couch or bed can start burning, and that is why folks should never smoke in bed."

Fire-safe cigarettes.. Erfert said while the new cigarettes may be safer, they should still be handled with extreme care. "If they work as claimed and go out when not being smoked, it should have an effect on smoking material fires; and since such fires are the leading cause of fire deaths, it should reduce those as well. "The big thing is that although they are called fire safe cigarettes, people need to still take precautions. They are still a potential ignition source."

David Sutton, spokesman of Phillip Morris USA, said even though the new design has a reduced cigarette ignition propensity (RCIP), smokers cannot act carelessly. "In terms of the testing that has been done, it has shown they do have propensity to extinguish, but just like traditional cigarettes, they can still cause a fire, and should be handled and disposed of properly."

Sutton said the new cigarettes don't look any different from traditional cigarettes.
"The cigarette does not look or feel any different. If you put a traditional cigarette right next to a paper safe cigarette, you can't tell the difference. The paper is exactly the same except for the banding technology. There are no new chemicals and it is the same tobacco blend."

Sutton said 49 states have passed legislation requiring fire safe cigarettes, even though there is no federal law requiring such product enhancements.

"The company prefers a national uniform standard. We are making a concerted effort to [expand FSCs to] all of our national production by the first half of 2010."
According to Phillip Morris, because banded paper makes cigarettes more likely to self-extinguish during normal smoking, some adult smokers have reported annoyance if their cigarette extinguishes unexpectedly. "Consumers smoke in different ways, so it is an individual smoking experience. After a few months the consumers get used to the new paper and they way they smoke," Sutton said.

Some smokers are unhappy with the change, and want the law to be repealed. The Citizens Against Fire Safe Cigarettes (CAFSC), an organization which is collecting signatures for an appeal, claims the new cigarettes have an adverse effect on smokers' health. According to the CAFSC, FSC cigarettes "require that a smoker inhale in less than one minute or the cigarette will extinguish itself. The need to keep a FSC cigarette burning increases the number of inhales per cigarette, and thus increases the amount of tar, nicotine and carbon monoxide intake into the smoker's lungs."

The CAFSC said the new law will hurt more people than it helps. "Safe smoking habits of responsible adults prevent fatalities from burning cigarettes. It is up to individuals to responsibly extinguish cigarettes. The creation of FSC cigarette has created numerous hazards which cause more fatalities and problems than the small amount of lives saved from fires with the FSC cigarettes in use. "Not only are the FSC cigarettes unsafe to smokers, it presents health problems and increases the damage of cigarettes. Due to inadequate testing by cigarette companies and government agencies, the FSC cigarette poses real and identified dangers to the smoking public."

Reference: New cigarette law goes into effect Saturday bY CHRIS McDANIEL,, 7/31/2009.

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