Reduced Cigarette Ignition Propensity

Numerous countries around the world have recently introduced reduced cigarette ignition propensity standards (RCIP) standards for tobacco products. The intention of introducing RCIP standards is to reduce fires caused by careless handling of cigarettes. The standards, which consider the extent to which cigarettes burn to their full length or extinguish on a specified material in a test condition, were first developed by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) and adopted by the state of New York. In 2010, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) published the “Standard test method for measuring the ignition propensity of cigarettes” which is based on the ASTM Standard.

Our View

We believe that the experience from countries that have mandated RCIP requirements for years - namely the U.S. and Canada - should be thoroughly examined to evaluate the effectiveness of such requirements in terms of reducing cigarette-ignited fires before other countries consider introducing such standards. The available evidence from two provinces in Canada and the State of New York so far suggests that the implementation of RCIP standards did not result in the predicted reduction of smoking related fires.

Any country contemplating the introduction of reduced cigarette ignition propensity requirements should also consider the fact that any standard for reduced ignition propensity is likely to require changes to cigarette design. We believe governments should not mandate RCIP standards if these design changes result in products that are unacceptable to adult smokers or increase the health risks of smoking. 

If RCIP standards are implemented, It should be made clear to the public and smokers that such standards do not make cigarettes “fire safe.” The public and smokers should understand that anything that burns, if handled carelessly, can cause a fire, including cigarettes manufactured to meet the reduced cigarette ignition propensity standards. It is important for smokers to handle and dispose of all cigarettes with care.

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