There’s no excuse for promoting cigarette smoking, but given people do smoke, it’s useful to know there are products that minimise at least the fire risk. The United States Fire Administration says approximately 1,000 Americans are killed in home fires caused by cigarettes or other smoking devices annually.

The figure includes the deaths of non-smoking friends, relatives and neighbours. Now the Massachusetts Security Department of Fire Services says a law that requires cigarettes to be ‘fire safe’ has seen a dramatic reduction in deaths. Fire safe cigarettes ‘self-extinguish’ if the smoker stops ‘drawing’ (inhaling).

The risk of an accidental residential fire in Massachusetts being caused by a cigarette now has decreased by 28 per cent.

“We now have the science to support that all tobacco companies throughout the world should voluntarily make their cigarettes less likely to ignite fires,” said a director of the HSPH Center for Global Tobacco Control.