Non-Smokers’ Rights Association and Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada
Cigarettes sold in Canada as of October 1st will be less likely to cause fires
Montreal, Wednesday June 15th 2005– The Non-Smoker’s Rights Association and Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada congratulate Canada’s Minister of Health, Ujjal Dosanjh, for ensuring that all cigarettes sold in Canada after October 1st 2005 meet the Cigarette Ignition Propensity Regulations published last Monday, the 13th of June. The new regulations will make cigarettes less likely to start fires, by making cigarettes that are left unattended either generate less heat or extinguish themselves. Between 1995 and 1999, unattended cigarettes caused fires that killed a total of 356 people and injured 1615 more.
According to François Damphousse, director, Quebec office for the Non-Smokers’ Rights Association office for Quebec: “After all the tragedies, this is very good news. These regulations mean that cigarettes left unattended are less likely be the source of fire which means fewer deaths, fewer injuries and less material damage. Burning cigarettes will never be safe. By making cigarettes more fire-safe, politicians are seeking to decrease the number of deaths and injuries in fires that are started by cigarettes. The victims of these tragedies are often the most vulnerable of our society, the children and the elderly.”
Cigarettes sold in New York State have been subject to similar regulations since June 2004. Vermont, California and Massachusetts are looking into setting similar standards. Canada is the first country to adopt regulations at the national level, and other countries are likely to follow.
“Until now, cigarettes were designed to keep burning regardless of whether the person was actively smoking them. The implementation of this regulation means that as of October 1st 2005, the risk of cigarettes starting fires is not eliminated but considerably reduced. The technology was out there. It was unacceptable that governments were not forcing tobacco manufacturers to use it,” explained Neil Collishaw, director of research with Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada.
“We congratulate the Minister of Health, Ujjal Dosanjh, as well as Health Canada for insuring that the Cigarette Ignition Propensity Regulation came to be. With all that is going on in Ottawa, we were fearful that the publication of this regulation would be relegated to a much a later date. Everyone, with the exception of the tobacco manufacturers who opposed this initiative, agreed on how instrumental this public safety and health measure would be to save lives,” added Mr. Damphousse.
François Damphousse, Director of the Quebec Office, Non-Smokers’ Rights Association, 514. 843‑3250 ou cell. 514. 237-7626
Neil Collishaw, Director of Research, Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada, (613) 233-4878 ou cell. 613.297-3590