On the first day of 2010, smokers from tobacco-loving Virginia and North Carolina as well as nine other states would be smoking only those cigarettes that comply with new fire safety standards.
Among 11 states where the legislation to require usage of fire-safe cigarettes only entered into effect on January, 1st are: Alabama, Michigan, Virginia, Georgia, Arkansas, Nebraska, South Carolina, Florida, Tennessee, New Mexico, Missouri and North Carolina.
As of this date, 43 states across America have adopted and imposed similar laws. New York became the first US state to require the FSC cigarettes in 2000 and prohibited sales of cigarettes that fail to comply with these standards.
According to the National Fire-Safe Cigarettes Coalition’s annual report four states – Nevada, Ohio, Mississippi and North Dakota already have this measure adopted, but would make it legally valid later this year. In addition, South Dakota and Missouri are set to require the usage of fire safe cigs in 2011. So, Wyoming is the only state that doesn’t have similar legislation at least in drafts.
Whereas in the USA state assemblies are entitled to deal with such issues, Canada went even further and required FSC cigarettes on federal level on October 1, 2005
What do you think about fire-safe cigarettes?
James Goodloe, Florida’s Chief Fire Marshall stated that cigarettes and other smoking-related materials have been one of the primary causes of deadly fires, particularly in residential units. The nationwide reports show that cigarette-ignited fires take away up to 1000 lives, leaving nearly 3,000 persons injured. Meantime, cigarettes with reduced ignition propensity tend to stub out in 75 percent of time when they are not inhaled.
David Sutton, spokesperson for Altria Group, the parent company of USA, the largest cigarette-maker in the country, explained that fire safety compliance technology involves adding specialized thin bands of porous paper to ordinary white cigarette-wrapping paper. These bands are working to decrease the burn rate when the burning cigarette tip reaches them. That is why many people call these bands as ‘speed bumps’.
The majority of cigarette manufacturers have decided to switch to production of fire-safe cigarettes voluntarily. Mr. Sutton said the industry has collaborated with state governments to introduce the same standards as in New York. Altria spokesman said Philip Morris intends to start manufacturing only FSC cigarettes in February, regardless of the state legislations. Philip Morris is the maker of legendary Marlboro cigarettes, as well as L&M, Chesterfield, Parliament and other famous brands.
Many states eased their regulations to allow local wholesalers to sell the existing stocks of non FSC cigs.
At the same time, numerous smokers across the nation are frustrated by the requirement of fire-safe smokes. They claim that the new cigarettes make them cough; provoke sore throat, headache and dizziness. Recently launched coalition of Citizens Against Fire-Safe Cigarettes even started gathering signatures under the petition to cancel the obligatory switch to fire-safe cigarettes, citing their hazard to health.
Still, these claims were denied by spokesman for Altria, who said that the only difference between FSC cigarettes and ordinary smokes is in the bands of paper that extinguish burning cigarettes when it is not smoked.
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