Europe switches to self-extinguishing cigarettes

It's lights out in Europe this weekend for old-style cigarettes that manufacturers haven't adapted to burn themselves out if left unattended.

Come Friday, in a bid to cut down on smoking-induced deaths across the continent, all cigarettes sold in the 27-state European Union -- home to half a billion consumers -- will have to be self-extinguishing.

"Evidence shows that the number of fatalities can be reduced by more than 40 percent with the introduction of 'Reduced Ignition Propensity' (RIP) cigarettes," the executive said on Monday, citing data from Finland, the first EU state to implement new legislation agreed in 2008.

Brussels estimates that nearly 500 lives a year can be saved in this way from some 30,000 annual fires started by lit cigarettes that are forgotten.

On Thursday, a three-year phasing-in period for the legislation will come to an end, meaning all 27 EU states will thereafter have to adopt the same norms as the United States, Canada and Australia.

The changes do not affect cigars.

Manufacturers insert two rings of thicker paper within the cigarette that restricts air and and so block the lit tobacco's progress.

health spokesman Frederic Vincent said: "If you don't puff on them, the cigarettes go out all by themselves."

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Argentina bans electronic cigarettes

May 09, 2011

Argentina on Monday banned the import, sale and promotion of electronic cigarettes, saying there is no proof they help smokers kick the tobacco habit.

Ban proposed on electronic cigarettes on planes

Sep 14, 2011

(AP) -- The Obama administration Wednesday proposed banning the use of electronic cigarettes on airline flights, saying there is concern the smokeless cigarettes may be harmful.

Recommended for you

CDC: Almost everyone needs a flu shot

4 hours ago

(HealthDay)—Less than half of all Americans got a flu shot last year, so U.S. health officials on Thursday urged that everyone 6 months and older get vaccinated for the coming flu season. "It's really unfortunate ...

Can you train your brain to crave healthy foods?

6 hours ago

The mere sight of a slice of gooey chocolate cake, a cheesy pizza, or a sizzling burger can drive us to eat these foods. In terms of evolution we show preference for high calorie foods as they are an important ...

User comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Sepp
not rated yet Nov 17, 2011
Natural tobacco is self-extinguishing. The property of continuous burn has been 'engineered' into cigarettes to sell more of them. A special additive makes them burn faster and more quickly. All you'd have to do is drop the additive and all cigarettes would be self-extinguishing. But I guess it would be too much to ask for the tobacco industry to admit that it has tricked smokers all this time...