Smokers will be buying a new kind of cigarette in New Hampshire stores beginning Monday that officials say is safer but otherwise indistinguishable from regular Cigarettes.
The new Cigarettes are self-extinguishing, and stores are now requiRed by law to sell the safer alternative.
New Hampshire Fire Marshal Bill Degnan said the structure of the Cigarettes prevents them from burning except when a smoker is actively smoking it. Using a highlighter, lighter-coloRed sections can be seen on the cigarette's paper where it will stop burning.
"The difference comes in the way they manufacture the paper that changes the way the burning takes place with the cigarette," Degnan said.
Fire-safe Cigarettes are marked with the letters "FSC," a black line above the bar code or an asterisk next to the bar code.
The law mandating the switch was passed last year, and it took affect on Monday, but storeowners can still sell off any existing stock of the old Cigarettes.
Fire officials said the new Cigarettes can prevent tragedies, such as a fire in Franklin, N.H., in August 2002 that killed two people in a cigarette-related fire. Since the beginning of 2000, 15 people in New Hampshire have lost their lives to cigarette-related fires, Degnan said.
"If these Cigarettes only work half the time, that's seven people who would still be here with their families," Degnan said.
New Hampshire is one of three states in the Northeast, including Vermont and New York, to sell fire-safe Cigarettes. Massachusetts recently passed requiring their sale, and Connecticut and Maine are in the process of drafting similar legislation.