Fire Standard Compliant Cigarettes in Texas
According to a 2013 National Fire Protection Association report, 540 civilian deaths in the United States were attributed to smoking material fires in 2011, a number at or near the all-time-low, and well down from the numbers of deaths in the 1980s. During 2011, an estimated 90,000 smoking material fires caused $621 million in direct property damage.
Several factors, including a decline in smoking and stricter fire resistant standards for mattresses and upholstered furniture, are credited with the decrease in smoking material fire deaths over the last 30 years. The most recent drops in fatalities and injuries, though, owe much to "fire-safe" cigarette legislation.
In 2003, states began requiring that all cigarettes sold must be "fire-safe"; that is, have sharply reduced ignition strength (ability to start fires). By 2010, fire-safe cigarette legislation was in effect in 47 states (In Texas, since January 1, 2009). From 2003 to 2010, the number of civilian deaths in smoking-material fires fell by an average of 21 percent.
2012 was the first year that such laws were effective in all 50 states. A projection linking the percentage decline in fire deaths to the percentage of smokers covered suggests that when smoking material fire death numbers are analyzed for the year 2012, the reduction in civilian deaths will reach roughly 30 percent.
Other key findings in this report show:
Older adults are at the highest risk of death or injury from home smoking-material fires, even though they are less likely to smoke than younger adults.
One fatality in four (24 percent) of home smoking-material fires was not the smoker whose cigarette started the fire.
Sleeping is the primary human factor contributing to ignition, cited for almost one-third (31 percent) of home smoking-material fire deaths.
Retailers, Wholesalers, and Distributors
All cigarettes sold in Texas must be certified fire-standard compliant in accordance with Chapter 796 of the Health and Safety Code. Distributors, wholesalers and retailers are responsible for ensuring that all cigarettes they receive and offer for sale are fire-standard compliant.
In order to sell cigarettes in Texas, you must obtain approval of your marking and certify that the cigarettes meet the FSC requirements. Submit a form SF251, Application for Fire Standard Compliant Cigarette Marking Approval, with an example of the mark to the State Fire Marshal's Office. Have each variety of cigarette tested at a laboratory meeting ISO/IEP 17025 accreditation. After the cigarettes have been tested, you may certify the cigarette as fire-standard compliant and submit form SF250, Certification by Manufacturer. The certification fee of $250 per variety of cigarette must accompany the form. You must re-certify each variety of cigarette every three years. Certifications are valid for three years from the date the certification was received by the State Fire Marshal's Office.
Note: UPC Codes are no longer required on the SF250 form.
Additional information for manufacturers from the Office of the Attorney General and Comptroller of Public Accounts.
Only cigarettes certified to the State Fire Marshal's Office may be sold in Texas. If you observe a retailer, wholesaler, distributor or manufacturer offering non-FSC cigarettes or uncertified cigarettes, you may file a complaint by filling out and sending in an SF252 complaint form. The complaint form is available in PDF format. The completed form may be mailed, faxed or emailed to the address, fax number or email address listed on the form.
Safe Smoking Practices
Whether you smoke a cigarette, pipe or cigar, you are smoking burning tobacco. Under the right circumstances an improperly discarded tobacco product can start a fire. Although fire-standard compliant cigarettes may reduce the likelihood that a cigarette will ignite a fire, safe smoking practices must still be used. It's best to smoke outside and extinguish cigarettes in water or sand. Ashtrays should be deep and sturdy and placed on something that will not easily ignite, such as a table. Ashtrays must never be placed on sofas, chairs or beds. Soak cigarette butts and ashes in water before throwing them away. Hot cigarettes or ashes should never be tossed into a trashcan.
Never smoke in a house where oxygen is in use. You should never smoke near an oxygen source, even if it is turned off. Oxygen can be explosive and causes a fire to burn hotter and faster.
Use personal ashtrays or the ashtray in your car to extinguish your cigarettes. A cigarette thrown from a car window can cause wildland fires that endanger people, homes and animals.
- Chapter 796 of the Texas Health and Safety Code, Cigarette Fire Safety Standards
- The Texas Fire Standard Compliant Cigarette Rules
- Coalition for Fire-Safe Cigarettes
- Nova Search for a Safer Cigarette
For more information, contact:
Last updated: 09/06/2016