June 10, 2005 – The Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs (CAFC) today welcomed the news that Canada will soon become the first country to require that all cigarettes must have a reduced ignition propensity. CAFC was responding to an announcement that Governor General Clarkson had just approved a Regulation under the Tobacco Act that will make such cigarettes mandatory as of October 1st this year.
“This is a major step toward reducing the devastation that cigarette fires are currently causing across Canada,” said Michael Eddy, President of CAFC and Chief Director of the Halifax Regional Fire and Emergency Service.
He pointed to an estimate by Health Canada that, without the Regulation, cigarettes would ignite over 2,000 fires in Canada each year, resulting in an average of 53 deaths, 227 injuries and more than $28 million in property damage. “These injuries and deaths would fall disproportionately on innocent victims, including children, the disabled and the elderly,” Chief Director Eddy stated. “Health Canada deserves the gratitude of all Canadians, including the Canadian Fire Services for significantly lowering the peril of cigarette fires,’ he concluded.
As of October 1st, all cigarettes must pass as ignition propensity performance test. How this will be accomplished is at the discretion of the individual manufacturers and importers. One likely approach is to use a cigarette paper with concentric bands that will slow the rate at which a cigarette burns as the lit end crosses over them. For more information about the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs, visit http://www.cafc.ca.