Switzerland could join EU requiring sale of only self-extinguishing cigarettes ..

August 11, 2008 - Switzerland, not a member of the European Union (EU), could follow in the footsteps of a EU initiative in requiring companies to sell exclusively self-extinguishing cigarettes from 201l. EU plans 'fire-safe' cigarettes..

Insurers and tobacco manufacturers welcomed the move and the (New York state was first to enforce the so-called "fire-safer" cigarettes in 2003, with another 35 US states and Canada following suit.) "Burning cigarettes are the leading cause of home fire fatalities every year. Burning cigarettes are also responsible for many forest fires," a spokesman for the European Commission told swissinfo. "Fire-safer cigarettes would save hundreds of lives every year and reduce the number of fire incidents."

The Swiss Insurance Association welcomed such innovations, saying they could help prevent damage. Tobacco giant Philip Morris told swissinfo it would support the introduction of reduced cigarette ignition propensity standards in the EU provided they were consistent with those introduced in New York and Canada, applied to all lit-end tobacco products and manufacturers had enough time to make any necessary product design changes. But Fran├žois Thoenen, spokesman at the company's Swiss affiliate, warned: "Consumers should understand that those changes do not make cigarettes 'fire-safe' or even necessarily 'fire-safer'. Anything that burns, if handled carelessly, can cause a fire, including cigarettes manufactured to meet the 'New York standards'."

Reference: "Fire-safer" cigarette sparks Swiss interest, 8/7/2008.