Fire Safe Cigarettes
For many reasons, cigarettes are some of the most dangerous products in the world, but fire safe cigarettes, a recent development in the tobacco industry, work to combat one of those reasons. Though they make the consumption of cigarettes no less harmful, fire safe cigarettes help prevent dangers due to unintended consequences—specifically, the risk of fires. In this article, we’ll explore how fire safe cigarettes work, their proliferation into smoking culture and their effectiveness up to this point.
- The anatomy of a fire safe cigarette. Despite the fact that their invention is relatively recent, the technology behind fire safe cigarettes is far from groundbreaking. The trick lies in the kind of paper used to wrap the tobacco into a standard, tubular form. Cigarettes of old used a thin layer of a very porous paper to wrap their tobacco. When left unattended, cigarettes wrapped with this type of paper would burn all the way down to the butt, allowing whatever the cigarette was resting on to come in contact with the ember. As a result, countless beds, couches and chairs ended up smoldering or even flaming when cigarettes were dropped and forgotten. Fire safe cigarettes, on the other hand, are encased in multiple layers of a thin, impermeable type of paper. Thus, when left unattended, they essentially put themselves out instead of continuing to burn.
- Adoption of fire safe cigarettes. Since their invention, state and local governments have been quick to enact legislation requiring the manufacture and use of fire safe cigarettes. New York was the first to do so, drafting the law in 2003. Other states obviously took notice. Less than a decade after the New York legislation, every other state in America either has adopted or is in the process of adopting similar laws. It’s safe to say that the fire safe cigarette has become the new standard. If you look on the color coded tag of any package of cigarettes today, it will almost certainly read “FSC,” which stands for fire safe cigarette.
- Fire safe cigarettes’ effectiveness. Though they’ve been around for a short time, there is already an abundance of evidence suggesting that fire safe cigarettes are indeed effective in reducing fire-related deaths in the United States. According to the National Fire Prevention Association, fire deaths resulting from cigarettes have dropped an astounding 66 percent from 1980 to 2008. Though smoking materials are still the leading cause of fire related deaths, this number is expected to further decline with the ubiquitous adoption of fire safe cigarettes by state governments. All in all, it’s reasonable to infer that fire safe cigarettes are a small but marked improvement in the peripheral safety of smoking materials.