New Cigarettes escape spotlight

Smokers noticing their Cigarettes are going out More or are harder to keep lit are not imagining things. ...

Smokers noticing their Cigarettes are going out More or are harder to keep lit are not imagining things. Overshadowed by the frenzy surrounding the state smoking ban, another new law took effect Jan. 1 requiring all Cigarettes to be “fire safety Cigarettes.” These Cigarettes, often referRed to as low-ignition, cause the cigarette to extinguish on its own if not consistently inhaled. David Sutton, spokesman for Philip Morris USA, said this is caused by several thin rings of paper added to the rod of the cigarette acting as “speed bumps” causing the burn rate to slow down. The law was passed in 2006, but the effective date was delayed until 2008 to allow cigarette retailers and distributors time to sell their old stock, said State Rep. Patricia “Patti” Bellock, R-47th District, of Hinsdale. Bellock said while she remembers some controversy at the time the law was being passed, she has yet to hear it mentioned since it took effect. So why has this cigarette law squeaked through relative obscurity while the smoking ban commanded public attention? The simple answer, Bellock said, could be there is not much to oppose, either by cigarette companies or the public. According to the National Fire Protection Agency, cigarette-ignited fires are the leading cause of home fire deaths in the United States, killing 700 to 900 people annually. Thus unattended Cigarettes extinguishing themselves could save lives. Sutton said Philip Morris USA has no opposition to the statewide initiatives requiring low-ignition Cigarettes except they wish there was a federal standard that would be easier on distributors. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. announced in October it will manufacture all of its cigarette brands using “fire-safe” technology. Sutton said the Cigarettes are made from the same blend of tobacco, thus the only difference to the consumer is they need to puff it More often. Another possible reason the new Cigarettes remained out of the spotlight is many distributors did not even know about them, much less the public. Sales representatives at the Westmont News Agency and the Walgreens in Downers Grove at Ogden Avenue and Main Street had never heard of “fire-safety” Cigarettes. The only physical packaging difference is that fire safety packs are denoted with a sMall “FSC” printed under the bar code on packs of Marlboros and on the state stamp on Camels. Tiger Shahid, a 7-11 employee in Westmont, said complaints he gets about the Cigarettes are not about their taste but people thinking there is something wrong with them, because they do not stay lit. “The cigarette companies didn’t do a very good job of informing the public,”

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