Finland - Philip Morris destroys 20 million cigarettes - not self-extinguishing..

May 19, 2010 - Tobacco company Philip Morris has been forced to destroy 20 million cigarettes following enforcement of a new law requiring that all cigarettes sold in Finland be self-extinguishing (fire-safe, reduced cigarette ignition propensity) reports the daily Turun Sanomat.

The cigarettes were burned in Ekokem?s kilns in Riihimäki, some 70 kilometres north of Helsinki.

Philip Morris Finland says the incineration resulted in a significant financial loss for the company. The 20 million cigarettes had a retail value of five million euros.

This spring Finland became the first country in Europe to require that all cigarettes be self-extinguishing. All other kinds of cigarettes were banned as of April 1, 2010. (Fire safety of cigarettes improved in Finland, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, Press Release, 3/23/2010.)

The move is an effort to reduce the number of fires accidentally sparked by lit cigarettes. Smoking is the most frequent cause of fatal fires in Finland. Often, victims throw lit cigarettes into the trash or fall asleep while smoking.

Authorities believe the self-extinguishing cigarettes could prevent between 15 and 20 fire-related deaths every year.

Finland has been the first European country to enact laws governing smoking safety. Similar laws are in force in Canada, Australia, and 47 states in the US.

Reference: Philip Morris Forced to Incinerate 20 Million Cigarettes, YLE Mobiiliuutiset, 5/13/2010.

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