Fire safe cigarettes hitting europe?

Richard / Politics, Science & Health / fire safe cigarettes, smoking / 3 Comments

Although there has been talk of fire safe cigarettes reaching the UK for the last seven years, the measure has never come to pass. Now, though, the London Fire Brigade is reporting on its website that the European Commission has now agreed on a safety standard for cigarettes and the EU is expected to start selling reduced ignition propensity (RIP) cigarettes (otherwise known as fire safe cigarettes (FSC)) from November, 2011. The measure is defined as voluntary but if manufacturers do not comply their products can be removed from the market. (As of today, the measure has not yet come into force, but is still on the cards.)

Traditional cigarettes, currently still on sale within the EU, stay lit until reaching the butt 99% of the time, while fire safe cigarettes, currently on sale in the USA, Canada and Australia, retain ignition only 10% of the time unless the smoker puffs to keep the cigarette alight. These cigarettes work by adding two or three bands of paper along the length of the cigarette, which reduces the oxygen flow and thus causes the cigarette to go out if not puffed at that moment. There are, however, questions over the safety of these new cigarettes.

The state of New York mandated fire safe cigarettes in June, 2004 and in January, 2005 the Harvard School of Public Health published its study on them. The authors tested nineteen compounds in the cigarettes and all nineteen had higher levels of toxicity than their non FSC counterparts, with carbon monoxide levels being higher by 11.4% and naphthalene 13.9%. Naphthalene can cause myriad side effects if one is exposed to enough of it, such as anaemia, convulsions, vomiting and even comas. In addition to the increased levels of toxic compounds, the bands of paper are glued together with an ethylene vinyl acetate, copolymer emulsion based adhesive, which is used as carpet glue or the tube used in a glue gun. There is evidence, therefore, that fire safe cigarettes contain higher levels of toxic compounds than normal cigarettes, and in a time when much focus is given to the ingredients in cigarettes, should lawmakers not be aiming to reduce these levels rather than increasing them?

Away from laboratory testing and into real world cases, the Internet is awash with cases of smokers who since smoking fire safe cigarettes have suffered from various health problems, which promptly ceased when they switched back to non fire safe cigarettes or rolled their own. Such is the extent of the problem, in fact, that a petition to remove these cigarettes from the market now has over 27,000 signatures, many of whom state health complaints from the cigarettes.

It has long been known that traditional cigarettes contain an accelerant to keep the cigarette burning. From a business perspective it makes perfect sense if the cigarette burns faster, the smoker is more likely to consume more and thus purchase more. Rolling papers do not contain this accelerant and are well known for extinguishing regularly, causing the smoker to relight it. One of the most frequently mentioned facts about cigarettes is that they contain over 4,000 chemicals, and so the question is why not simply remove the accelerant to have the same effect as RIP cigarettes, rather than add more chemicals and increase the toxicity of those already present? In The Medical Journal of Australia in 2004, Simon Chapman wrote that The elimination of citrate and other burning agents in cigarette paper thus appears to be a simple and effective means of dramatically reducing the ignition propensity of cigarettes.

A new eu attempt to ban e-cigarettes – and how to defeat it

Important Update A petition on Avaaz against the EU ECIG Ban is gaining traction, with over 11,000 signatures at the time of writing. Please sign the petition and share it on social media. Click here to sign the petition now!

During a recent attempt to ban electronic cigarettes in the EU thousands of vapers contacted their MEPs in protest.

Despite the massive influence of the pharmaceutical and tobacco companies who stand to lose out from ecigarettes, MEPs responded by rejecting the law in a EU parliamentary vote, showing that sometimes democracy and activism can trump lobbying power.

A New EU Ecig Ban

So, the EU went back to the drawing board and came up with more ideas to take away your e cigarettes and force you back on to cigarettes and/or ineffective NRT aids.

These include

  • a ban on refillable tank systems
  • a ban on clearomisers (only single use cartridges to be allowed)
  • a ban on almost all flavours (only flavours currently used in NRT to be allowed)
  • maximum nicotine content of 10mg per unit
  • a requirement that e cigarettes deliver a regulated dose of nicotine (this technology does not yet exist, although one company spent several years and millions of pounds trying to develop one before giving up.)
  • likely internet selling ban
  • ban on distance selling

along with many more idiotic proposals, detailed by former Action on Smoking and Health boss Clive Bates here!

These proposals would mean an end to vaping as we know it today.

And in effect, having been defeated by a democratic vote, the EU seems to be trying to force medicalisation through again, only under a different name!

E Cigarette researcher Dr Farsalinos wrote

“I am afraid that the European Union is once again trying to destroy the e cigarette as an alternative to smoking product by trying to implement regulations that constitute a ban for the majority of products. Not only do they ignore science but they also make decisions that are against the will and vote of the MEPs just 40 days ago.”

Source The European Union ignores science and common sense by making proposals that will damage the health of smokers and vapers

Time to Protest Again!

What I’ve heard, both from MEPs like Kay Swinbourne and from advocates like Clive Bates, is that most effective way to make a difference is to write your representatives urging for a delete Amendment 18 proposal.

(We’ve also arranged meetings with some of our representatives so we can make our case in person.)

Rather than copy a form letter, it’s much better to explain why e cigarettes are important to you, and why you believe the legislation is wrong.

Some vapers in the past have written angry letters. While this is understandable considering that many believe the legislation threatens their lives, a polite and constructive letter is more likely to win representatives over.

What to Say, Who to Contact

Clive Bates goes into detail on

  • what’s wrong with the new legislation
  • also advise on what to say in your letters
  • what you need to ask representatives to do
  • who to contact

To avoid just repeating what Clive Bates has said, I’ve kept this post short, so please have a look at Clive Bate’s post before writing to your representative.

Click here to read Clive Bate’s post.

You can also see my summary of the arguments on both sides (put together after watching the debate at the E Cigarette Summit) here, and see the presentation I made to a parliamentary researcher on ecigarettes here.

For a list of UK MEPs, classified into for, against and unsure, click here.

To find out who your representatives are and to write to them, click here.

If you’re a blogger, ecigarette retailer, website owner or active on social media or forums, please get the word out and make sure that all 1,200,000 (or two million according to some estimates!) vapers are aware of this new threat to vaping and what they can do about it!

Good luck!

Read on!

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