News releases

January 2,  2004

Fire-safe cigarettes:
Canada should move quickly to make cigarettes fire-safe

(January 2, 2004 – Ottawa) – Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada (PSC) today called for the government to move quickly to make cigarettes fire-safe.

On December 31, 2003 News York State adopted regulations that will require cigarettes to go out when left unattended.  75% of cigarettes have to self-extinguish according to the test standard.  Manufacturers have to comply with the regulation by June 28, 2004.

"The technology do so is amazingly simple," said Neil Collishaw, PSC's Research Director. "New research from New Zealand shows that manufactured cigarettes can by made 100% fire-safe, just by wrapping them in cigarette paper for hand-rolled cigarettes, instead of the citrate-laden paper normally used in manufactured cigarettes," said Mr. Collishaw.

The New Zealand research shows that cigarette rolling paper for hand-rolled cigarettes contains little or no citrate, while the paper used in manufactured cigarettes contains significant amounts of this burning agent.  When researcher wrapped the tobacco from manufactured cigarettes in cigarette paper for hand-rolled cigarettes, 100% of the cigarettes quickly self-extinguished.

What is Canada doing to make cigarettes fire-safe?  A Private Member's Bill, Bill C-260, sponsored by Liberal M.P. John McKay is caught in parliamentary limbo.  The bill would make cigarettes fire-safe and adopt standards similar to those just adopted in New York.  Bill C-260 was adopted by the House of Commons in November, but failed to clear the Senate before Parliament was prorogued.  Parliamentary rules would allow this Private Member's Bill to live and to be passed by the Senate.  All it takes is a simple motion to this effect from the House of Commons when it resumes sitting in 2004.

"We want Parliament to keep Bill C-260 alive and make sure all cigarettes are fire-safe.  If the technology now exists to make 100% of cigarettes fire-safe instead of just 75%, then the Senate should propose amendments to Bill C-260 to do just that," said Mr. Collishaw.

Cigarette-caused fires result in about 100 needless deaths a year in Canada.  "By adopting Bill C-260, the House of Commons and the Senate can save 100 lives a year.  We urge them to do so, with no further delay," he concluded.


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For information:           Cynthia Callard
                                    Executive Director
                                    613 233 4878

New York Standard: http://www.dos.state.ny.us/fire/cigaretterule.htm

New Zealand Research: http://tc.bmjjournals.com/cgi/content/abstract/12/4/406