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Safer Burning Smokes To Be Developed As A Standard

"Adopting a standard of fire-safer cigarettes and consulting with the public to make this mandatory, under the Fair Trading Act, is likely to make safer burning cigarettes a reality faster than legislation, and ultimately this will save lives," said Jim Anderton, Acting Consumer Affairs Minister today.

Grant Gillon MP announced today that his private members bill on fire-safer cigarettes will be discharged (withdrawn) from Parliament where it has been heard by the Government Administration Committee.

Standards NZ will be asked to develop a standard for cigarettes, which will ensure they are manufactured to reduce the likelihood that they will start fires if carelessly discarded. Once the standard is complete the Minister of Consumer Affairs can investigate making the standard mandatory.

Grant Gillon said, "I am pleased that the fire-safer cigarette can be dealt with more easily than through passing legislation. This shows the advantages of being in a party which is part of the Government. Through the private members bill I introduced we have been able to gauge industry and community reaction to fire-safer cigarettes.

"Government ministers will now take account of this information and can make the introduction of a safer burning cigarette a reality. The process to be followed will be to first set a standard, then wider consultation ending with an order in council," said Grant Gillon.

Grant Gillon was a fire fighter and introduced the bill because of this first hand knowledge that cigarettes account for far too many fires that cause injury and death.

Cigarette fires cause an average of 20 deaths or injuries to members of the public and firefighters each year in New Zealand. As the ignition source in fires responsible for over 20% of all fire deaths, cigarettes are the nation’s largest single cause of fires. The economic costs in health care and productivity losses, not to mention the human costs of pain and suffering are unacceptable. An average of 600 fires a year is attributed to careless disposal of cigarettes.

All the parties with an interest in the Bill have been requested to take part in, and contribute to, the Standard development with a view to its completion in the shortest possible time.

In the meantime, if a Standard is developed elsewhere, for example in the US, consideration will be given to adopting it.

"Overall our goal is to ensure something is in place to reduce the toll on life and property at the earliest possible time," said Jim Anderton and Grant Gillon.

Ends

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