Fire-Safe Cigarette Laws Don't Light Any Fires Under Tobacco Companies

fireMost people don't know it, but cigarettes sold in some states are now more dangerous than ones sold in other states. Deaths and damage from cigarette-caused fires have motivated New York, Vermont, California and other states to enact laws in recent years requiring that only fire-safe cigarettes be sold in their states. Fire-safe cigarettes are made to go out when left burning unattended, unlike standard cigarettes that keep burning even when not being smoked. Manufacturers add burn accelerants like sodium citrate to cigarette paper to keep them lit when left in an ashtray, posing an increased fire hazard. A horrific cigarette-caused house fire that burned eight people to death in Baltimore, Maryland earlier this year has spurred calls by Baltimore public officials for a citywide fire-safe cigarette law. Interestingly, Maryland already has a fire-safe cigarette law, but it doesn't go into effect until July 1, 2008 -- too long to wait given the danger, according to Baltimore officials. In the meantime, cigarette makers are in no hurry to sell their fire-safe cigarettes anywhere they don't have to, leaving many citizens, including those in Baltimore, at a higher risk of cigarette-caused fires than people in states that already have self-extinguishing cigarette laws in effect.