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Hand rolling cigarette papers as the reference point for regulating cigarette fire safety
  1. M Laugesen1,
  2. M Duncanson2,
  3. T Fraser3,
  4. V McClellan4,
  5. B Linehan5,
  6. R Shirley6
  1. 1Health New Zealand, Auckland, New Zealand
  2. 2Wellington School of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Otago, Wellington, New Zealand
  3. 3ASH NZ (Action on Smoking and Health), Auckland, New Zealand
  4. 4Research and Evaluation Services, New Plymouth, New Zealand
  5. 5Medlab, Hamilton, New Zealand
  6. 6E-Lab, Hamilton, New Zealand
  1. Correspondence to:
 Murray Laugesen
 PO Box 32099, Devonport, North Shore, Auckland 1330, New Zealand;


Aim: To compare the burning characteristics of the tobacco and paper of manufactured and hand rolled cigarettes, and set a fire safety standard of manufacture to largely reduce the fire risk from discarded cigarettes.

Methods: (1) Cigarette extinction test of ignition strength: 40 cigarettes per brand, lit and placed on 15 layers of filter paper, in accordance with ASTM test standard E2187-02. (2) Citrate extracted by 0.1N hydrochloric acid from cigarette papers and from tobacco in manufactured cigarettes, the supernatant analysed by high performance liquid chromatography using ultraviolet visual light spectrophotometer. (3) Survey of 750 nationally representative adults age 18 years and over, by telephone, including 184 smokers.

Materials: (a) New Zealand made Holiday, and Horizon, and US made Marlboro manufactured cigarettes; (b) US manufactured Merit with banded paper; (c) Holiday, Horizon and Marlboro hand rolling tobaccos, hand rolled in Rizla cigarette papers; (d) manufactured cigarettes as in (a), reconstructed using Rizla hand rolling cigarette papers.

Results: 1. (a) For each brand of manufactured cigarettes, 40/40 burnt full length; (b) for Merit banded paper cigarettes 29/40 (73%) burnt full length; (c) for each brand of hand rolled cigarettes 0/40 burnt full length; (d) 0/40 manufactured cigarettes reconstructed with Rizla hand rolling paper burnt full length. 2. Citrate content: (a) In manufactured cigarette papers: 0.3–0.8 mg; in tobacco of manufactured cigarettes: Holiday 0, Horizon 0, Marlboro 8.8 mg; (b) Merit: in banded paper 0.418 mg; in tobacco 10.23 mg; (c) In hand rolled cigarettes: in the papers < 0.08 mg; in hand rolled tobacco 13.3–15.0 mg; (d) In hand rolling papers of reconstructed cigarettes: < 0.018 mg. 3. Requiring manufactured cigarettes to compulsorily self-extinguish when left unattended was supported by 67% of smokers, 61% of manufactured cigarette smokers, 82% of hand rolled smokers, and by 68% of non-smokers.

Conclusion: The wrapping paper is a key determinant of whether or not unpuffed cigarettes burn their full length. Using international test methods, popular brands of manufactured cigarettes all burnt full length, but none did so when re-wrapped in hand rolling cigarette paper. This provides a ready-to-hand smoker acceptable standard for reducing ignition potential from manufactured cigarettes, as a basis for regulation or litigation.

  • hand rolled cigarettes
  • citrate
  • fire safety
  • New Zealand
  • ASTM, American Standard Test Method
  • NIST, National Institute of Standards and Technology
  • RIP, reduced ignition potential

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