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Where There’s Smoke But No Fire

Alliance MP Grant Gillon is introducing a fire-safe cigarette bill in an attempt to help save lives of fire-fighters, smokers and their families.

Grant Gillon hopes that his Cigarettes (Fire Safety) Bill will be drawn from the ballot for members bills tomorrow. The bill directs the New Zealand Standards Council to create a safety standard for cigarettes and provides for a penalty for a breach of the standard.

“An average of 20 people are injured or killed each year in cigarette fires. Many of them are elderly or disabled” said Grant Gillon. “600 fires a year are caused by the careless disposal of cigarettes. Many of these tragedies can be averted by simple changes in the manufacture of cigarettes”.

Fire-safe cigarettes are designed to go out when they are not drawn on, in a similar manner to roll your own cigarettes. Manufacturers can meet a test standard through such means as reducing the diameter if the cigarette, reducing the density with which it is packed, and reducing the porosity of the cigarette paper, allowing less oxygen to flow through the paper.

“My bill gives manufacturers 18 months notice after which they must comply with the new standard or face fines,” says Grant Gillon. “Smokers should not notice any other changes in their cigarettes, either in taste or price”.

There are international precedents of legislation for fire-safe cigarettes. In the USA in 1984 the Cigarette Safety Act was passed and a three year study was made into the feasibility of a fire-safe cigarette. This study led to the passage of the Fire-Safe Cigarette Act in 1990 which called for development of a test standard for cigarette fire safety.

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