New Hampshire and Illinois have become the latest states to enhance public safety by mandating that all cigarettes sold in their state be “fire-safe.” Such cigarettes are less likely to ignite fires if dropped or carelessly discarded.

New Hampshire Governor John Lynch signed into law May 31 legislation which requires that, beginning in October of 2007, all cigarettes sold in the state be low-ignition strength (commonly referred to as “fire-safe”), as established by recognized standards. Such cigarettes have been proven to be less likely to ignite clothing, bedding or other material if left unattended. Illinois signed similar legislation in May as well.

These two states join New York, Vermont and California in mandating the sale of “fire-safe” cigarettes only. Several other states, including Massachusetts, are considering similar laws. Fire-safe cigarettes are also mandated throughout all of Canada.

“Fire-safe cigarettes provide us with the greatest potential to make the next big leap in fire protection,” said James M. Shannon, president of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), a member of the Coalition for Fire-Safe Cigarettes. Shannon added that approximately 25 percent of Americans will now be better protected from devastating cigarette fires.

The Coalition for Fire-Safe Cigarettes, officially launched in March, includes fire service members; medical and public health practitioners; advocates for consumers, the elderly and people with disabilities; and others. The coalition has asked tobacco companies to start selling fire-safe cigarettes nationwide and is gathering support nationwide through an online petition at