A new safety standard for cigarettes has now come into force across Europe. London Fire Brigade campaigned for this change, which should reduce the number of fires started by smoking materials.

Fire safer cigarettes, also called reduced ignition propensity or RIP cigarettes, are cigarettes with ultra thin bands at intervals down the length of the cigarette. These bands cause the cigarette to go out if not puffed by the smoker.

A fire safer standard is already in force on cigarettes sold in Canada, Australia, Finland, New York and other US states. DCLG undertook some research into the comparisons of the propensity of fire safer cigarettes and conventional cigarettes to ignite textile materials used in a domestic environment. The research estimated that had cigarettes in the UK conformed to the New York standard in 2003, the number of smoking related fires would have been reduced in that year by nearly two thirds.

There are about 800 fires a year in London that are started by smoking materials. Between January 2005 and November 2011 there were 90 fire related fire deaths where smoking materials have been the source of ignition.

Since 2005 LFEPA has worked as part of a coalition of organisations including UK fire services and health and tobacco control groups, calling for the introduction of a fire safer standard for cigarettes in Europe.

In 2008 European Union countries voted for a new fire safer standard for all cigarettes sold in the EU and requested that the European standards body, CEN, develop it. The standard setting process is now complete and the new standard was agreed on 18 November 2010. It came into force across the EU on 17 November 2011.

Although this is a voluntary standard, manufacturers have a strong incentive to comply, as the standard will provide a presumption of safety for cigarettes manufactured within it. If a cigarette does not comply with the standard, member state authorities (in the UK, this would be Trading Standards) would be able to take action such as withdrawing it from the market.

With all cigarettes in the EU fulfilling this fire safety requirement, the European Commission estimates that one to two lives could be saved every day.

E-cigarette users bemoan nyc, chicago laws taking effect tuesday that stop vaping in public – news – nanaimo daily news

Trailside center

NEW YORK, N.Y. Laws in New York and Chicago making electronic cigarettes subject to the same regulations as tobacco are taking effect, and their sellers and users are steadfast in their opposition.

The New York law along with the measure in Chicago, one that previously went into effect in Los Angeles and federal regulations proposed last week are keeping debate smouldering among public health officials, the e cigarette industry and users.

Proponents of the regulations, which began Tuesday, say they are aimed at preventing the re acceptance of smoking as a societal norm, particularly among teenagers who could see the tobacco free electronic cigarettes, with their candy like flavourings and celebrity endorsers, as a gateway to cancer causing tobacco products.

Dr. Thomas Farley, the New York City health commissioner under former Mayor Michael Bloomberg, says allowing electronic cigarettes in bars and restaurants would undermine existing restrictions on tobacco based products.

The law would prohibit the use of electronic cigarettes in restaurants, bars and other public places, just as regular cigarettes are not allowed.

“Imagine for a moment you’re at a bar and there are 20 people who are puffing on something that looks like a cigarette and then somebody smells something that smells like tobacco smoke,” Farley says. “How’s the bartender going to know who to tap on the shoulder and say, ‘Put that out’?”

Makers of the devices say marketing them as e cigarettes has confused lawmakers into thinking they are the same as tobacco based cigarettes. They say the new regulations ostracize people who want an alternative to tobacco products and will be especially hard on ex smokers who are being lumped into the same smoking areas as tobacco users.

Their defenders also say they’re a good way to quit tobacco, even though science is murky on the claim.

Peter Denholtz, the chief executive and co founder of the Henley Vaporium in Manhattan, says electronic cigarettes “could be the greatest invention of our lifetime in terms of saving lives” by moving smokers away from traditional cigarettes.

“This law just discourages that,” he says.

Chris Jehly, 31, also defends the devices as a vehicle for quitting.

“The tougher they’re going to make it on vapers, the tougher it is people are going to find an actual vehicle for quitting or as a supplement to cigarettes,” Jehly says from his perch at the counter at Henley. “There’s no need for it. This is working so much better than patches or gum or prescription drugs.”

Robin Koval, chief executive of the anti smoking Legacy Foundation, says that while ingredients in electronic cigarettes are not as harmful as those in tobacco products, they are still a concern because they contain highly addictive nicotine. The National Institutes of Health says users could expose themselves to toxic levels of nicotine while refilling the devices or even use them to smoke other substances.

Since little evidence exists on the effect of the devices on smoking whether as an aid in quitting, a gateway for non smokers or a bridge to keep smokers hooked longer she says she favours a legislative approach that balances public health with the development of safer alternatives.

“The right way forward will be a way that promotes innovation that helps us do everything we possibly can to get combustible tobacco to be history,” Koval says. “We want a generation of Americans where, for them, cigarettes are a thing of the past an artifact like a roll of film or a rotary telephone.”

Nanaimo Daily News