EUROPE (euroalert.net) As from 17th November 2011, once the new safety standards enter into force, national authorities will make sure that all cigarettes sold in the EU are of a type known as 'Reduced Ignition Propensity' (RIP). This means cigarettes which self extinguish when left unattended and which are thus less likely to cause fire. According to the European Commission, the number of fatalities caused by fires can be reduced by over 40% with the introduction of 'Reduced Ignition Propensity' (RIP) cigarettes. Therefore, once the new safety standards are published in the EU Official Journal, all cigarettes sold in Europe will have to comply with these measures. The Commission remains committed to a "smoke-free Europe" and address this issue via its on-going EU "Ex-smokers are unstoppable" campaign, which was launched in July 2011.>>>
The new standards introduced intend to reduce ignition propensity, which is the ability of a cigarette left unattended to start a fire. Cigarette paper manufacturers have changed their paper production to insert two rings of thicker paper at two points along the cigarette. If the cigarette is left unattended the burning tobacco will hit one of these rings and should then self-extinguish, because the ring restricts the air/oxygen supply. A RIP cigarette cuts down the burning time, thus reducing the chance to ignite furniture, bedding or other material. For the time being the measure is applied in Finland. The experience in this EU country shows that the number of victims of cigarette-ignited fires has fallen by 43%. This figure suggests that nearly 500 lives could be saved in the EU every year. This safety measure is already in place in some countries globally (US, Canada, Australia).