NY To Require Fire-Safe Cigarettes
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) -- Lawmakers have reached a deal with the governor on a measure to make New York the first state to require fire-safe cigarettes.
The bill approved Wednesday is meant to cut down on fires caused by careless smokers, who account for at least one-third of the fire deaths in New York. It would require that cigarettes sold in the state self-extinguish if they are not being actively smoked.
The bill would take effect by July 2003. Gov. George Pataki is expected to sign it into law within a few days.
Pataki vetoed one version of the bill in May. The new version makes changes he demanded, adding new measures to fight cigarette bootlegging and a requirement that self-extinguishing cigarettes cannot be more toxic than conventional cigarettes.
Backers of the statute hope it will compel the tobacco industry to seek a nationwide fire-safe cigarette law from Congress.
Tobacco-maker Philip Morris, which has been test-marketing a cigarette less likely to ignite certain fabrics, thinks a federal law would be preferable to ''50 potentially conflicting state standards,'' spokeswoman Kati Otto said.
California lawmakers are considering their own bill on the issue.
But Steve Kottak, a spokesman for Brown & Williamson, said smokers could be harmed by a cigarette created to ``pass an artificial test.''