The Joseph Moakley Memorial Fire Safe Cigarette Act of 2002

H.R. 4607/S. 2317
By: Michael Appleman, CEO



On April 25, 2002, the H.R. 4607, was introduced in the House of Representatives by Ed Markey (D-MA) and James Hansen (R-UT) and referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. The S. 2317 was introduced in the Senate on April 25 by Senators Richard Durbin (D-IL) and Sam Brownback (R-KS) and referred to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. Also on April 25, 2002, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) announced their support of the The Joseph Moakley Memorial Fire Safe Cigarette Act of 2002.

NFPA smoking materials state that cigarettes remain the primary cause of fatal fires in the U.S. Since the first Congressional hearings were held, on the Cigarette Safety Act by Congressman Moakley, the NFPA has supported legislation that would reduce the number of deaths and injuries from fire that were caused by smoking materials. Cigarette ignited fires cause more than 900 deaths each year and more than 2,400 injuries. Many of these victims are innocent children. More than $400 million in property damage is the result of cigarette-caused fires each year. Fire-safe cigarette technology is commercially feasible. Phillip Morris is already using such technology in Merit cigarettes. The National Institute of Standards and Technology and the Consumer Product Safety Commission have developed broadly validated testing methodologies for fire safety and smoke toxicity. The Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that the cost of the loss of human life and personal property from not having a fire-safe cigarette standard is approximately $4.6 billion per year.

In 1990, Congressman Moakley was successful in leading Congress to pass legislation that led to the development of a standard test method. That test method was suitable for assessing the ignition resistance of cigarettes, effectively removing the last barrier to implementation of an engineered solution to the cigarette fire problem.

The Safe Cigarette Act of 2002 is looking to establish a federal fire-safe cigarette standard. If adopted, this act will hopefully allow more stringent fire-safety standards for cigarettes. This Act requires the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to establish a standard, specified in the legislation, by which cigarettes could be regulated with respect to their propensity to start fires. The CPSC is also provided the authority to regulate the ignition propensity of cigarette paper for roll-your-own tobacco products.

The standard may be modified if new testing methodology enhances the fire-safety standard. It may also be modified for cigarettes with unique characteristics that cannot be tested using the specified methodology if the Commission determines that the proposed testing methodology and acceptance criterion has an ignition propensity equivalent to or less than the acceptance criterion stated in the legislation.

The Act gives the Consumer Product Safety Commission authority over cigarettes only for purposes of implementing and enforcing compliance with this Act and with the standard promulgated under the Act.

The bill also prohibits advance stockpiling of non-complying cigarettes and allows states to pass more stringent fire-safety standards for cigarettes.

Burn Survivors Throughout The World, Inc. strongly supports both the H.R. 4607 and the S. 2317. If you feel the H.R. 4607 and S. 2317 should be passed, I BSTTW suggests that you contact your Congressional representatives in both the Senate and House of Representatives. The passing of these two bills will help keep america safer for our present and future americans and visitors.