The new year brings changes in laws for sales of cigarettes. Lawmakers are making it mandatory for stores to sell only fire safe and slow-burning cigarettes.
Federal legislation was first proposed in 1974. It has taken more than 30 years for the law to be implemented and amended. The last time it was rejected was in 2006 with strong opposition from the tobacco industry. Since then, strategy changes have been implemented in the law, said U.S. Fire Administrator Gregory Cade.
By year end, 14 states will join the 18 states that currently require vendors to sell only fire-safe cigarettes. The paper on fire safe cigarettes is thicker in two spots so they will go out if not puffed when they burn to these spots. The idea is to prevent fires caused when cigarettes are dropped or set aside.
Critics say that the fire safe brands taste different and can extinguish a cigarette before a smoker is done smoking it.
Beginning January 1, fire safe cigarettes, made of self extinguishing materials are mandatory in Delaware, Iowa, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and Texas, she said. During the year laws go into effect in Arizona, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Washington and Wisconsin.
In 2010 six more states will enact laws and seven others have ongoing proposals.
John Banzhaf, founder of Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), A National Antismoking & Nonsmokers' Rights Organization, has been critical of how the tobacco industry “has very openly fought nearly everything.”
More than 900 smokers and non-smokers die yearly in home fires caused by cigarettes and other smoking products, according to the U.S. Fire Administration.
Philip Morris USA, the largest tobacco company, will not be making all of its cigarettes fire-safe but plans to “continue working with the states.”
Howard said R.J. Reynolds, the second-largest tobacco company, will start making its cigarettes fire safe by the end of 2009.
The new cigarettes will be labeled on the pack's UPC bar code. It should read FSC. #