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    In Europe, "self-extinguishing" cigarettes are about to become law but where do they stand in the pantheon of safety innovations?

    The images from fire safety films are painfully familiar.

    They usually feature someone smoking on the sofa - perhaps watching television - only to nod off while the cigarette is still alight. Soon, it drops out of the hand, eventually setting fire to the furniture.

    From 17 November, a new EU directive will require cigarettes to meet a reduced ignition propensity (RIP) requirement. They will be manufactured to be self-extinguishable, to reduce the chance that they should set fire to sofas, beds and other combustible materials.

    In England, of the 212 people that died in house fires last year, 81 were the result of cigarettes, cigars and pipes, says the Department of Communities and Local Government.

    The DCLG estimates the new types of cigarettes could save up to 64 lives each year in England.

    Some RIP cigarettes use paper that is rolled differently to normal cigarettes. Narrow bands of paper are applied on top of traditional cigarette paper at various intervals during the paper-making process.

    The idea is that these act like "speed bumps". When the cigarette burns down to one of these rings, in the absence of fairly steady puffing, there is a greater chance that the cigarette will go out than with traditional versions.

    Safety campaigners stress that there is no such thing as a truly "fire-safe" cigarette but that something that potentially improves public safety can only be a good thing.

    New York became the first US state to adopt reduced ignition propensity cigarettes in 2004. In 2009, the state reported an estimated 33% reduction in fatalities due to materials catching fire because of cigarettes.

    Other states have followed New York's lead. Today RIPs are available across the US, Canada and Australia.

    But it has been a long journey for what appears to be a simple invention.

    According to reports, the first North American patent for a self-extinguishing cigarette was registered as early as 1854. Many other patents have been registered since, but early versions usually involved the addition of fire retardants.

    The original concept for the types of "fire safer" cigarettes that focus on the paper date back to the early 1900s, according to fire safety scientist Richard Gann.

    But it has taken decades for the tobacco industry to get behind it.

    "The 'fire safer' cigarette is the latest of a huge number of simple but clever inventions that really can save lives," says Jack Challoner, science writer and author of several books on the history of invention.

    "Simple ideas really can save lives - and the best ones can quickly become taken for granted. Without cat's eyes, for example, driving at night would be far more hazardous - but how often do we take notice of them?" says Challoner.

    "No one likes it when smoke detectors go off when you are burning toast or when we have to change the batteries - but we are in awe of simple inventions like this when they save lives. And they do."

    Source:BBC News, by Rema Rahman
    3 November 2011, Last updated at 13:11 GMT


    Attached Image Source:


    Related Threads on DF:

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    Experiences - is anyone else grateful for fire safety



  1. chinpokomaster
    So, will smokers need to keep relighting them if they don't smoke them rapidly enough?
  2. Balzafire
    Yes. They frequently go out if you don't puff them often enough. Pain in the ass.
  3. chinpokomaster
    I was under the impression that they typically added chemical to cigarettes in order to keep them alight for longer -- hence why rollies and joints are less likely to stay lit for longer. Why not just discontinue the addition of this chemical?
  4. frog
    So that's why my cigarettes keep going out lately? I thought it was some kind of defect…

    Modern commercially manufactured cigarettes are seemingly simple objects consisting mainly of a tobacco blend, paper, PVA glue to bond the outer layer of paper together, and often also a cellulose acetate–based filter.[22] While the assembly of cigarettes is straightforward, much focus is given to the creation of each of the components, in particular the tobacco blend, which may contain over 600 ingredients,[23] many of them flavoring for the tobacco. A key ingredient that makes cigarettes more addictive is the inclusion of reconstituted tobacco, which has additives to make nicotine more volatile as the cigarette burns.[2]

    Main article: Cigarette paper
    The paper for holding the tobacco blend may vary in porosity to allow ventilation of the burning ember or contain materials that control the burning rate of the cigarette and stability of the produced ash. The papers used in tipping the cigarette (forming the mouthpiece) and surrounding the filter stabilize the mouthpiece from saliva and moderate the burning of the cigarette as well as the delivery of smoke with the presence of one or two rows of small laser-drilled air holes.[24]

    According to Simon Chapman, a professor of public health at the University of Sydney, the burning agents in cigarette paper are responsible for fires and reducing them would be a simple and effective means of dramatically reducing the ignition propensity of cigarettes.[25] Since the 1980s, prominent cigarette manufacturers such as Philip Morris and R.J. Reynolds developed fire-safe cigarettes but did not market them.[citation needed]

    The burn rate of cigarette paper is regulated through the application of different forms of micro crystalline cellulose to the paper.[26] Cigarette paper has been specially engineered by creating bands of different porosity to create "fire-safe" cigarettes. These cigarettes have a reduced idle burning speed which allows them to self-extinguish.[27] This fire-safe paper is manufactured by mechanically altering the setting of the paper slurry.[28]

    New York was the first U.S. state to mandate that all cigarettes manufactured or sold within the state comply with a fire safe standard. Canada has passed a similar nation-wide mandate based on the same standard. All U.S. states are gradually passing fire-safe mandates.[29]

    European Union wishes to ban in 2011 cigarettes that are not fire-safe. According to a study made by European Union in 16 European countries, 11,000 fires were due to people carelessly handling cigarettes between 2005 and 2007. This caused 520 deaths and 1600 people injured.[30]

    Main article: Cigarette paper

    Rolling papers are most commonly made with wood pulp, hemp, flax, or rice as a base material. Some companies may use esparto, which might lead to a slightly higher carcinogen level when burned. The basic design of a single paper is a long rectangle with a narrow strip of glue or gum all along one of the long edges. Longer, rice-based rolling papers are also often used to make spliffs or used by connoisseurs for cigarettes of the highest quality. Rolling papers are also called skins or rollies (a term which can also mean the hand-rolled cigarettes themselves), but the term skinning up usually only refers to the act of rolling a spliff.[1] Newer rolling papers are available in various flavors.


    The Spanish brand of Smoking was accused of using illegal carcinogenic materials, namely esparto, in their cigarette papers to cut costs but was never convicted.[9]

    Esparto, or esparto grass, also known as "halfah (alpha/alfa) grass" or "needle grass", Macrochloa tenacissima and Stipa tenacissima, is a perennial grass grown in northwest Africa and the southern part of the Iberian Peninsula employed for crafts (cords, baskets, espadrilles, etc.).
    It is also used for fiber production for paper making.

    Source: Wikipedia
  6. FearlessLink
    I hate these things. Been dealing with them for a long time now. Everyone I know hates them. When they first came out we all bought the old school cigs bootleg from various people that had stocks of the smokes. Once those were gone we were forced to smoke the fire safety.

  7. sassyspy
    I think they suck, as well. (well I suck on them but only so they dont go out lol)
    really though, whatever they have done makes them taste like shit. I live on an indian reservation, so I buy natural smokes with no additives. I only switched to them when chemicals were added to my old brand.:smoking:

    that being said, I used to wake up in the night and light a cigarette and fall back asleep. I have burns and holes in my blankets and carpet, but the cigarettes went out.
    I don't keep them near the bedroom anymore.
    Some cigs I bought throghout the last months really felt strange. Maybe this is the answer. As the article states, some brands already changed to the new regulation.
    I like to feel the impact of a cigarette and it seems that some brands I used to like, aren`t the same anymore. Now I`m switching again to rolling myself - cheaper and I smoke less. Not beacause I have to roll them, but they satisfy me more than the boxed ones. Also, they don not leave me so "twitchy" (does this word even exists?). Well, thats what feel afterwards, like "twitchy" sounds. :laugh:
  9. salviablue
    It seems to me, that the easiest way to reduce the fire risk from smoking...is not to smoke indoors, or only in a designated room with no flammables.

    Not only does one help prevent ones house and self from stinking of stale tobacco tar but it tends to also reduce the amount one smokes.

    Consider being responsible for the lives of others, just because you couldn't be bothered to go out for a smoke.

    And I smoke btw. When I lived by my self, and I smoked in the house for a while, I never smoked where I lay, nor upstairs, just in case....

    I'm not so sure about ecigs. I've tried them, my wife is currently using them to help give up. They taste aweful, like nicotine gum, and don't have the 'hit'. Besides, I enjoy the heavy feeling of smoke in my lungs. Although for me, its more I want to smoke, but only when I want to smoke. Nicotine makes me smoke when 'it' wants me to.
  10. Moving Pictures
    Yeah, we've had those for a few years over here now. By the bar code on the box it says "FSC" fire safe cigarette. I don't have any issues with them at all. I usually smoke my cigarette quickly enough that it doesn't go out on me and if I'm doing something else and not paying attention and it does go out, all the better: I'm not wasting any tobacco. Cigarettes aren't that cheap, you know. I don't notice any difference in the taste either. And it's not like you have to drag on it every 5 seconds to keep it lit, it takes a while for it to go out on its own. More than a minute at least. They're also nice for those of us who nod out with them in our hands, reduces the risk of setting a fire and saves the cigarette. You nod out and wake up and are like "sweet, half a cigarette!" and can fire it up again.
  11. salviablue
    I totally concur.

    This would seem like the most rational approach for all parties, rather than adding yet more stuff.
    It would make it cheaper to produce the cigarette, so, knowing the tobacco companies would 'neglect' to pass on the savings to consumers, it would make them slightly more profit.

    It would benefit the governments as they would be seen to be actively 'doing something' regarding the added extras in commercial pre-rolled cigarettes.

    It would benefit the general commercial pre-rolled cigarette smoking public as there would be both less fire risk and one less unnecessary chemical to ingest.

    It would benefit the rest of the population as a whole as less resources would be spent on property and people damage from careless cigarette handling.
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