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J Burn Care Rehabil. 2000 Mar-Apr;21(2):162-4; discussion 164-70.

The fire-safe cigarette: a burn prevention tool.

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Burn Prevention Committee, American Burn Association, Chicago, Ill, USA.


Cigarettes are the most common ignition source for fatal house fires, which cause approximately 29% of the fire deaths in the United States. A common scenario is the delayed ignition of a sofa, chair, or mattress by a lit cigarette that is forgotten or dropped by a smoker whose alertness is impaired by alcohol or medication. Cigarettes are designed to continue burning when left unattended. If they are dropped on mattresses, upholstered furniture, or other combustible material while still burning, their propensity to start fires varies depending on the cigarette design and content. The term "fire-safe" has evolved to describe cigarettes designed to have a reduced propensity for igniting mattresses and upholstered furniture. Legislative interest in the development of fire-safe smoking materials has existed for more than 50 years. Studies that showed the technical and economic feasibility of commercial production of fire-safe cigarettes were completed more than 10 years ago. Despite this, commercial production of fire-safe smoking materials has not been undertaken. The current impasse relates to the lack of consensus on a uniform test method on which to base a standard for fire-safe cigarettes. Although the fire-safe cigarette is a potentially important burn prevention tool, commercial production of such cigarettes will not occur until a standard against which fire-starting performance can be measured has been mandated by law at the state or federal level. The burn care community can play a leadership role in such legislative efforts.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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