Overheard from a smoker:

“It’s got little rings around it in a couple of spots,”

The rings? They are thick bands of low-permeability paper, and they are rapidly appearing on cigarettes across the country. The idea being if you set down your cigarette — or fall asleep in bed while its still lit— the cigarette will go out when the ash reaches one of the rings.

In effect, the rings act as caution tape. To keep a cigarette lit, you have to keep puffing. When you stop, it goes out by itself in about 5 minutes.  It doesn’t really cut down on smoking now does it?

Fire and public health folks think the cigarettes are a good idea — so good that in the last six years, 37 states and the District of Columbia have enacted laws requiring that they be sold; in five other states, such laws are under consideration or await the governor’s signature.

There are no reliable statistical data demonstrating that fire-safe cigarette laws actually reduce fires though.

Fire and public safety officials do point to research conducted by the Harvard University School of Public Health, which found that only 10 percent of cigarettes sold in New York, the first state to enact a safer cigarette law, burned down to the filter if left unattended, compared to 99.8 percent of cigarettes without the bands.

Common sense dictates that cigarette are less likely to cause fires if they snuff themselves out, advocates say, meaning fewer deaths, injuries and property loss.

The new smokes ‘taste like crap’-
Good, maybe that will motivate you to quit the nasty habit in the first place! Side by side with a traditional cigarette, you can’t tell much difference. But on the box, the letters FSC above the bar code denote Fire Safe Cigarettes; in some states, it’s RFP for Reduced Fire Propensity. 

“I do understand why they did it, as a safety precaution,” said one woman, But there’s one big problem, she said: “The cigarettes don’t taste near as good as they used to.” Can I get an amen?

And that’s the rub. Asked to rate the new cigarettes, many smokers said they left an unpleasant coppery taste in the mouth. Can I get another amen?

“It’s nasty,” said another man, they “taste like crap.” One more amen please!

And for many smokers, the  feature that fire officials like is a pain in the neck.“They constantly go out, and I have to relight them all the time,” said a woman from Texas. Do you fell sorry for her?

New York kicked off the movement 4½ years ago, when it became the first state to require tobacco companies to make the self-extinguishing cigarettes. As the laws have spread across the land, many smokers have driven to neighboring states to get their smokes. That’s what happened in Kentucky after its law went into effect in April 2008.

That may not be an option for long, though, whether or not the 13 states without fire-safe cigarettes laws fall into line: With the tide firmly against them, the tobacco companies, which initially opposed the laws, now say it is too much trouble to make different cigarettes for different states. As a result, they predicted that by Jan. 1, 2010, all cigarettes sold in stores in the United States will be self-extinguishing.


Which is why some smokers give special thanks for the Internet.

They are turning to online sites like FSCCigarettes.com, which complains: “It’s kind of BS that we the smokers have to put up with more unnecessary and probably unhealthy additive being added to our smokes (That we pay good money for by the way) just because some junkies can’t properly extinguish there [sic] cigarettes.”

And they are venting on online forums like one run by the Smokers Club, which argues that “there is no end to the fictions nicotine ninnies will create to justify their venomous hatred of smokers.”

One poster on the site wrote that if you believe fire-safe cigarettes are safer than traditional cigarettes, “you might want to have your doctor check to see if you still have a brain.”

Meanwhile, a group calling itself Citizens Against Fire Safe Cigarettes said it had collected more than 1,600 signatures on an online petition seeking to repeal fire-safe cigarette laws. Last week, the organization put out a call on its blog for “crucial support from a Scientist with a PH.D. and/or a medical doctor who is willing to come forward and offer their support.”

In a posting on the group’s online forum, a Texas woman wrote that “the new chemicals are making me very ill, and quitting is harder than I ever imagined.”

“It’s time for the government to take responsibility for the bad decisions they have made,” she added. “They used smokers as guinea pigs, and now they expect us to roll over and drop dead.”

With that being said, why complain about your rights as a smoker and become a non-smoker? It’s why we created Smoke Away, to help you quit!

Advertisements