The RIP Coalition is pleased to announce that it has achieved its goal to make reduced ignition propensity or “fire safer” cigarettes a legal requirement in the UK and European Union. From 17 November 2011 all cigarettes sold throughout the EU must conform to the new standard.
Members of the RIP Coalition have been campaigning for the new standard since 2007 to reduce the number of avoidable deaths and injuries resulting from fires started by cigarettes.
Cigarettes are the biggest cause of domestic fire deaths in the UK causing over 100 fatalities each year. In 2008, the most recent year for which statistics are available, smokers’ materials caused 2,814 fires and 101 deaths.
How do RIP cigarettes work?
A simple change in the design of cigarettes (two narrow bands of slightly thicker paper) greatly reduces the likelihood of unattended cigarettes continuing to burn, dramatically cutting the risk of fire. Tobacco companies could have introduced the change voluntarily but they refused. They even campaigned against laws that would bring in these “fire safer” cigarettes.
However, thanks to persistent lobbying by health and fire safety organisations, all cigarettes now sold in the EU are required to comply with the new fire safety standard.
In 2010, Finland became the first EU country to require fire safer cigarettes and the number of smoking related fire deaths fell by 40% in one year.
Click here to see the London Fire Brigade’s press release
RIP Implementation update by Sir Ken Knight
Sir Ken Knight, Chief Fire and Rescue Advisor to the UK Government, has written to Deborah Arnott and the RIP coalition to provide an update on the RIP implementation later this year.
Download a pdf of the letter by clicking here.
RIP cigarettes for Europe before the end of 2011
The RIP Coalition understands that “fire safer cigarettes” should be in UK shops within the year. Negotiations at the European Union have been progressing well since the CEN, Europe’s standard making body, published the standard and test method on 17th November 2010. Once the standard is referenced in the Official Journal of the European Union, which is usually 12 months after it is published, companies will be required to meet it. Therefore we expect the standard to be in force on or around 17th November, 2011.
European Committee for Standardization
RIP Law to cover entire US population
Eleven more US states now require all cigarettes sold to conform to the Reduced Ignition Propensity (RIP) standard, bringing the total to 43 states. Laws came into force on 1 January 2010 in: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia.
Mississippi, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio and Missouri will all implement legislation during 2010, followed by South Dakota in January 2011 and Wyoming in July 2011. Wyoming became the 50 and last state to pass legislation to protect smokers and their families from the old style cigarettes, on 19 March 2010.
Cigarettes had been the number one cause of preventable fire deaths across the US until the State of New York became the first to implement RIP legislation in 2004 against fierce tobacco industry resistance. Canada was the first country to introduce RIP Cigarettes nationwide, while legislation in Australia came into force on 23 March 2010.
Tobacco manufacturers don't sell firesafer cigarettes in the UK where cigarettes continue to be the largest cause of domestic fire deaths causing up to 3,000 fires per year. The European Union is currently developing a standard to be introduced across Europe, however Finland has introduced its own regulations from 1 April 2010.