EU Fire-safe cigarette requirements effective today

Blog Post created by lorrainecarli Employee on Nov 17, 2011

Cigarettebandingwords030906Illustration: John Roman

Joining the United States, Canada, Australia and Finland, the European Commission is requiring that all cigarettes sold in the European Union will have to meet a specific fire safety standard effective November 17, 2011. According to the press release, the new standards have been drawn up under the General Product Safety Directive and require producers to place only safe products on the market.

In 2008 the European Commission defined the safety requirements, following discussion with Member States, the tobacco and paper industries and NGOs, and then asked the European Committee for Standardisation (CEN) to develop the relevant standards, which national authorities will use to measure compliance with fire safety rules. The EU estimates that this move will reduce the number of fire fatalities in Europe by about 40 percent.

The press release cited the success of the requirement in Finland where they have seen the number of victims of cigarette-ignited fires fall by 43 percent.

NFPA established the Fire-Safe Cigarette Coalition  2006 to get passage of consistent fire-safe cigarette legislation in all 50 states. When the coalition began, there were only two states with such legislation. By July of 2011, all 50 state laws were in effect. New York, which was the first state to pass legislation, has seen a reduction in fires and fire deaths related to cigarettes.

Cigarettes are the leading cause of home fire fatalities in the United States.

Lorraine Carli