Local News

Momentum Building for 'Fire-Safe' Cigarettes in N.C.

Posted March 28, 2007

— North Carolina could soon join 20 other states considering legislation that would require the sale of so-called "fire-safe" cigarettes.

Seven states, including New York and California, require cigarettes to meet certain fire-safety standards.

After a house fire killed six children and four adults in February, Kentucky recently passed a law allowing only the sale of cigarettes that extinguish themselves. Investigators believe a smoldering cigarette dropped into a chair started that fire.

"It's really a common-sense solution to an unnecessary problem," said Rob Thompson with the North Carolina Public Interest Research Group. "We can make cigarettes so that they burn out without burning down the house."

The fire-safe cigarettes contain the same tobacco but are wrapped with paper that extinguishes the fire unless it is puffed.

So far, there is no formal legislation in North Carolina, but it is coming.

Kristin Milam, a spokeswoman for North Carolina Insurance Commissioner Jim Long, said he suppors the idea.

"He's supportive of all these life-safety initiatives, anything that will keep a discarded cigarette—or potentially prevent these fires, yes we support that," Milam said.

Sen. Eddie Goodall, R-Mecklenburg, says he is interested but worries about the conversion cost for cigarette-makers.

"We're always looking at consumers and protecting people, but at the same time, trying not to over-regulate companies," he said.

Companies such as RJR Tobacco oppose any mandatory conversion to so-called fire-safe cigarettes, calling them misleading, because they still burn and they can still cause fires.

Phillip Morris, which owns the patent to the special paper, supports the conversion.

The National Fire Protection Association says fires started by cigarettes are the leading cause of home-fire deaths in the United States. They kill 700 to 900 people each year.

Fire officials believe discarded smoking material, such as a cigarette, led to a massive fire that destroyed 30 homes in a Raleigh townhouse community last month.


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  • ScreenNameNotInUse Mar 29, 2007

    I've got to say, I see all sides of the arguements presented here, but there is a subjectivity that the smokers are not taking into consideration. When a person quits smoking, the desire to smoke takes some time to go away. But before long you begin to realize how bad other smokers smell of smoke, and how bad their children smell. Soon the smell becomes disgusting and makes you sick to be around it. Eventually you realize how foolish it is to smoke and what a waste of money the habit was to support. Now add to that foolishness the stupidity that comes with losing the lives of six children just because you wanted the right to have instant gratification from a cigarette. Smokers don't have the right to kill their children just because they want to be stupid. Yes, I am calling smoking a stupid habit, and if the shoe fits, I am calling smokers stupid as well. I know, for I was stupid for nearly twenty years. Praise God I never killed my children.

  • bo Mar 29, 2007

    get the govt out of my life! ! ! !

  • juchushu Mar 29, 2007

    Apparently, you are a dumb redneck for your stupid thought process. What a souless idiot you are.

    I think it's a great idea. Accidents happen. It's no different than you driving your car and dropping something, going to pick it up "really quick", and smashing into another car.

    But to say that smokers shouldn't have children. That's just immature and rediculous. Grow up.

  • Lulli Mar 29, 2007

    i just can't comprehend & understand Politicians' obsession with anything associated with tobacco!!!!! What is it with them? I'm sure alcohol & drugs both contribute to more deaths than cigarettes!!!!! I guess Politicians don't want to get involved with what they are addicted! Why don't they get down to serious business & stop CANCER & DRUGS!!!!! Wouldn't this be more beneficial to ALL of US??????

  • BusyB Mar 29, 2007

    "Fire Safe" cigarettes! Wow, I think I've officially heard it all! Thanks for sharing your thoughts Happyday. Try opening a non smoking bar and see how long it stays open.

  • Firesafety103 Mar 29, 2007

    I am all for fire safety being in the field and I see fire deaths that don't need to occur all the time. Cigarettes may be leading cause of fires when there is a fire death but stop and think when this happens...when you are asleep!!! It is proven that you greatly increase your chances of getting out alive if you have working smoke detectors in your home. How many of the 900 didn't have this? The number one cause of residental fires in the US is unattended cooking. What are they going to do next make that industry develop ovens that shut off by themselves? Is it fair to make the tobacco companies have to spend the monies for someone not taking on their own responsibilities...I say not!!! There needs to be something done about landowners not making sure they have "WORKING" smoke detectors in their rental properties, make it a felony if they don't provide them not only here in NC but across the Country and I bet that will save more lives than fire safe cigarettes.

  • 68_polara Mar 29, 2007

    Could save 700 to 900 people each year in the Untied States. Compared to lung cancer and other illnesses associated with smoking I don't know how this is even on the radar.

  • baracus Mar 29, 2007

    You're right slantedfacts. There could be some chemicals in these new cigarettes that will completely negate the usual health benefits of smoking.

  • happyday Mar 29, 2007

    smoking is the most disgusting thing that's why we dont want you smoking in our bars and you automatically assume that smoking goes along with drinking, wow. WE don't want YOU smoking around us or our children bc YOU cause cancer with the smoke you blow out of YOUR lungs which are blackened and emphazema ridden due to years of YOUR own STUPIDITY>

  • smegma Mar 29, 2007

    why are they worried about this? pretty soon we won't be allowed to smoke in our own home either.

    on that subject, let me just say it infuriates me that you nonsmoking pansies coughcough yankyank and want to run us out of our own bars. build your own non-smoking establishment. leave it up to the owner whether you can smoke or not. what a boring bar.. nothing but non-smokers. you might as well just stop serving beer and liquor too. turn it to a wine, coffee, cheese and tofu cafe