Safer cigarettes would cut fire deaths if made available

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Safer, self-extinguishing cigarettes only sold in New York

Researchers at Harvard School of Public Health, funded by the American Legacy Foundation, compared the physical properties of cigarettes sold in New York with cigarettes of the same brands sold in Massachusetts and California.   The researchers found: • That while not perfectly self-extinguishing, New York cigarettes were far less likely to burn to the end than cigarettes of the same brands in California and Massachusetts. Ten percent of a sample of five major cigarette brands sold in New York had a “full burn” compared to 99.8 percent of the California and Massachusetts cigarettes tested. • Reduced ignition was apparently achieved through banding of the cigarette paper. • Reviewing cigarette tax data for the past six months, the reduced ignition propensity (RIP) cigarettes appeared to have no effect on sales of cigarettes in New York, indicating consumer acceptance.  • Based on the New York experience, prior industry objections to RIP cigarettes are unfounded, the report concludes. There is no valid reason why cigarette manufacturers should not sell RIP cigarettes nationwide.