New cigarette safety rules welcomed

18 Nov 2011

Cigarettes are now covered by new safety standards to reduce the number of house fire deaths, with the paper requiring bands regularly down the length of the cigarette so it will go out if not smoked.

All cigarettes sold in the EU have to meet a reduced ignition propensity (RIP) requirement hailed by safety campaigners and anti-smoking groups including the charity Action on Smoking and Health (Ash), with the London Fire Brigade having pushed for the standards since 2005

Ash believes the cigarettes may hugely lower the amount of house fires.

The new cigarettes could prevent 1,800 fires each year in the UK, as well as 67 fire deaths and 600 casualties a year, it has been estimated. Around 2,800 fires were caused by smoking materials in 2008 with 101 deaths and 932 people injured, said the Department for Communities and Local Government.

The new law is a "watershed moment" for UK fire safety, said Susan Hall, who chairs London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority's Community Safety Committee.

Copyright Press Association 2011

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