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Fire Safe Cigarettes

Posted Monday --- November 12, 2007

Cigarettes that extinguish automatically when they're not being smoked.

State Senator Judy Robson is proposing they become law.

She introduced a bill Monday that would require all cigarettes sold in Wisconsin to be fire-safe, saying it will save lives and property and prevent significant burns.

Wisconsin would become the 23rd state in the country if the bill passes.

Other legislators say the move is unnecessary.

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FAST FACTS ON CIGARETTES AND FIRES

 Cigarettes are the leading cause of home fire fatalities in the United States, killing 700 to 900 people - smokers and nonsmokers alike - per year.

 Smoking-material structure fires killed 760 people and injured 1,520 others in 2003.

 Property losses from smoking-material fires total hundreds of millions of dollars each year.

 There were 25,600 smoking-material structure fires in the United States in 2003.

 Fires caused by smoking materials are actually on the decline, thanks in part to more stringent standards for fire-resistive mattresses and upholstered furniture, public education, and a dramatic decrease in the number of cigarettes consumed per adult in the United States.

 The risk of dying in a home structure fire caused by smoking materials rises with age. Between 1999 and 2003, two-fifths (38%) of fatal smoking-material-fire victims were age 65 or older.

 One-quarter of victims of smoking-material fire fatalities are not the smokers whose cigarettes started the fire: 34 percent are children of the smokers; 25 percent are neighbors or friends; 14 percent are spouses or partners; and 13 percent are parents.

 NFPA research in the mid-1980s predicted that fire-safe cigarettes would eliminate three out of four cigarette fire deaths. If cigarette manufacturers had begun producing only fire-safe cigarettes then, an estimated 15,000 lives could have been saved by now.

 Mattresses and bedding, upholstered furniture, and trash are the items most commonly ignited in smoking-material home fires.

 Between 1999 and 2003, almost half (43%) of fatal home smoking-material fire victims were sleeping when injured; one-third (32%) were attempting to escape, to fight the fire, or to rescue others.

Source: National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), Fire Analysis and Research Division


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