Fire Brigade welcomes tough new rules on cigarettes

The number of people killed and injured in fires caused by cigarettes could be dramatically reduced thanks to new life saving legislation, says the London Fire Brigade.

The European Commission has agreed to a “fire safer standard” on all cigarettes sold in the European Union from next autumn.

The London Fire Brigade lobbied to help bring in the change which it says could save lives. Across the capital one in three fatalities in accidental house fires is caused by cigarettes.

The new rules mean that by November 2011 all cigarettes must be manufactured to have bands down the length of the paper which will make the cigarette go out if it is not inhaled by the smoker. London Fire Brigade is called to around 800 house fires a year which are accidentally started by cigarettes and other smoking materials. It is estimated that if all cigarettes sold in the EU meet this requirement one to two lives could be saved every day.

Susan Hall the chairwoman of London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority’s community safety committee said: “We have campaigned long and hard for this legislation to be introduced and now it has, it will undoubtedly save lives. Cigarettes and other smoking materials are the biggest killer when it comes to accidental house fires, with 78 Londoners losing their lives over the last five years. Fire safer cigarettes are good news for London Fire Brigade and good news for the safety of Londoners.”

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