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Fire Safety: Reduced Ignition Propensity Cigarettes

Volume 684: debated on Monday 24 July 2006

My honourable friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

Careless handling of smokers' materials continues to be one of the major causes of UK accidental fire deaths in the home. Evidence has shown that reduced ignition propensity (RIP) cigarettes decrease the risk of inducing ignition or progressive smouldering in materials, therefore reducing the number of accidental fire deaths in the home.

RIP cigarettes have been legislated for in New York State, California, Vermont, Illinois, New Hampshire and Massachusetts and are all now in place, as well as in Canada. The legislation requires that all cigarettes conform to American Society for Testing and Materials Standards (ASTM International).

At the request of the UK, supported by Sweden, the European Commission undertook to look into the case for developing an appropriate technical standard for RIP cigarettes. The Department for Communities and Local Government will be working very closely with the Department of Health, which has led government work on tobacco regulation, and the Department of Trade and Industry, which leads on consumer product safety. It is expected that further discussion on the case for developing a European technical standard for RIP cigarettes will take place at the next general product committee meeting in Brussels this September.