OKLAHOMA CITY -- It may be a little harder to keep cigarettes lit in Oklahoma next year. January 1st is the effective date for legislation passed last session requiring that cigarettes sold in Oklahoma comply with fire safety standards.
The paper on these "fire-safe" cigarettes is thicker in two separate spots so they will go out if not puffed when they burn to these areas. The idea is to prevent fires caused when cigarettes
are left unattended.
Many states already have similar requirements and some brands of cigarettes sold in Oklahoma have already made the change.
The Coalition for Fire Safe Cigarettes says cigarettes are the leading cause of home fire fatalities in the United States, killing 700 to 900 people per year. In 2003, there were more than 25,000 structure fires caused by cigarettes.
"There has been a rash of smoking materials deaths," State Fire Marshal Robert Doke said Monday. "A cigarette will fall into overstuffed furniture or mattresses when people fall asleep, or it rolls off an ashtray and on to the carpet, then the possibility for ignition happens. This cigarette is supposed to snuff out before it can cause enough heat to start a flame."