Wyoming Governor Dave Freudenthal recently signed legislation requiring all cigarettes sold in Wyoming to meet a specific fire safety standard as of July, 2011. This marks the 50th state to pass legislation aimed at reducing the number of cigarette fires and fire fatalities, according to a press release from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).

“The Wyoming fire service is pleased with the passage of this bill,” said Marlene Aitchison, fire chief for Laramie County Fire District #2 and chair of the Wyoming Fire Chiefs Association Legislative Committee. “We are confident that this law will significantly reduce devastation from smoking material-related fires throughout the state.”

State Fire Marshal Lanny Applegate, Deputy Director Mike Carlson and other members of the Office of the State Fire Marshal worked hard to help provide information to legislators and work out the details of implementation of this law during this short legislative session. “We are very pleased Governor Freudenthal signed SF 52, RCIP (Reduced Cigarette Ignition Propensity) into law to help reduce the potential for loss of Life and Personal property,” said Applegate.

According to the NFPA, cigarettes are the leading cause of home fire fatalities, killing between 700-900 people a year.

“The nationwide introduction of cigarettes that are less likely to cause fires will provide the next leap forward in fire protection,” said James M. Shannon, president and CEO of NFPA. NFPA launched the Coalition for Fire-Safe Cigarettes in March of 2006. The Coalition is made up of fire service members, consumer and disability rights advocates, medical and public health practitioners, and others committed to saving lives and preventing injuries by reducing the threat of cigarette-ignited fires. When the Coalition began, New York, Vermont and California had passed such legislation. Since that time, every other state passed similar legislation. The laws have gone into effect in 43 states. By July of 2011, all state laws will be in effect.

According to the Coalition’s Web site, a fire-safe cigarette has a reduced propensity to burn when left unattended. The most common fire-safe technology used by cigarette manufacturers is to wrap cigarettes with two or three thin bands of less-porous paper that act as “speed bumps” to slow down a burning cigarette. If a fire-safe cigarette is left unattended, the burning tobacco reaches one of these speed bumps and self-extinguishes.