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Ignition strength of 25 international cigarette brands
  1. Andrew B Seidenberg1,
  2. Vaughan W Rees1,
  3. Hillel R Alpert1,
  4. Richard J O'Connor2,
  5. Gregory N Connolly1
  1. 1Center for Global Tobacco Control, Department of Society, Human Development, and Health, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
  2. 2Department of Health Behavior, Division of Cancer Prevention and Population Sciences, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Buffalo, New York, USA
  1. Correspondence to Vaughan Rees, Harvard School of Public Health, 677 Huntington Avenue, Landmark Center, 3rd Floor East, Boston, MA 02115, USA; vrees{at}


Background Cigarette-ignited fires are a leading cause of fire death and injury throughout the world and remain a global public health and safety problem. To reduce this harm, a small number of countries now require cigarettes to have reduced ignition propensity (RIP). It is not known if cigarette manufacturers are voluntarily introducing RIP cigarettes in other countries to help save lives.

Methods Using the ASTM E2187-04 test method, per cent full length burn (%FLB) was measured for three popular brands from each of seven countries that did not have RIP legislation at the time of purchase. Results were compared with %FLB measurements from four popular US brands purchased in a jurisdiction (Vermont) with an RIP law. SRM 1082 reference cigarette was also tested to assure laboratory quality control.

Results All cigarette brands purchased in countries not requiring fire safety standards for cigarettes exceeded 75% FLB. In contrast, none of the cigarette brands from the USA exceeded 10% FLB. The SRM 1082 reference cigarette demonstrated 5% FLB.

Conclusion Cigarette ignition propensity can be greatly reduced through legislation that requires cigarette fire safety standards. RIP cigarettes have the potential to significantly decrease the number of fire deaths, injuries and destruction of property caused by cigarette-ignited fires. Appropriate standards should be applied in cigarette markets globally.

  • Fire safe cigarettes

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  • Funding This work was funded by the Roswell Park Cancer Institute Transdisciplinary Tobacco Use Research Center (P50 CA111236) and a grant from the US National Cancer Institute (R01 CA117108).

  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.