Indiana - fire-safe cigarettes - July 1, 2009..

June 12, 2009 - A new Indiana law taking effect July 1 will require all cigarettes sold in Indiana to burn out more quickly when left unattended in an effort to reduce the number of smoking-related fires. The new design forces a smoker to inhale to get the flame through two strips of paper incorporated into the cigarette. If left unattended, the cigarette will go out.

Jess Brewer of Lafayette, who recently traveled to Kentucky, where the new law was implemented in April 2008, finds the new cigarettes harder to smoke. "Since coming back from Kentucky about a week ago, I've been coughing constantly and having chest pains because you have to inhale harder on the new cigarettes," she said. "... What's the point of making safer cigarettes if they lead to negative health effects?"

The fire-safe packs sell for the same price as traditional cigarettes, Parish said. The new law, passed in 2008, doesn't apply to cigarettes that consumers roll themselves.

Indiana had 138 smoking-related fires last year, leading to four deaths, 11 injuries and $3.4 million in property damage, according to the National Fire Incident Reporting System. Cigarette-ignited fires are the leading cause of home fire deaths in the United States, killing 700 to 900 people annually, the National Fire Protection Agency reports.

Lafayette fire prevention Chief Ron Ritchey said the new cigarettes will help prevent fires. "There are a multitude of factors that cut down on cigarette house fires, like flame-resistant mattresses. We're getting smarter about this problem and tackling it from all angles," he said.

Brandon Grimes of Lafayette said he thinks the mandate will have a bigger effect on the number of smokers when compared to the number of house fires. "If it causes too much of a hassle, it could lead to less smokers in the long run," he said. "If it increases the overall health of people, then it could be a change for the better. It might make it easier for me to quit."

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Reference: Fire-safe cigarette law takes effect July 1,
Associated Press Information from: Journal and Courier,, 6/11/2009.

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