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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - Smokers in 12 states will be lighting - and relighting - fire-safe cigarettes designed to go out when they’re not puffed as the result of new laws that go into effect Friday.
The states are among the last to require that all cigarettes meet standards first implemented by New York six years ago. The states with laws going on the books this week are Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.
Wyoming is the only state that hasn’t passed such a law, according to the Coalition for Fire-Safe Cigarettes. Fire-safe cigarette laws will also take effect in Mississippi, Ohio and South Dakota by the first week of 2011. Canada has a similar law.
“Cigarettes are a major cause of fires, especially in residential occupancies,” said Jim Goodloe, chief of fire prevention for the Florida Division of State Fire Marshal. Florida passed its law in 2008.
The coalition says cigarettes cause 700 to 900 fire deaths and about 3,000 injuries every year in the United States — many of them among nonsmokers. The coalition’s members include fire prevention, consumer and health organizations.
The fire-safe standards require cigarettes to burn out 75 percent of the time when not in active use.
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