According to a recent report released by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), 610 civilian deaths in the United States were attributed to smoking material fires in 2010, a number at or near the all-time-low and well down from the 1980 levels. During 2010 there were an estimated 90,800 smoking material fires resulting in $663 million in direct property damage.
Several factors, including a decline in smoking and stricter fire resistant standards on mattresses and upholstered furniture have been credited with the decrease in smoking material fire deaths over the last 30 years. The most recent drops in fatalities and injuries, though, owe much to the “fire-safe” cigarette legislation.
In 2003, U.S. states began requiring that all cigarettes sold must be “fire-safe,” that is, have sharply reduced ignition strength (ability to start fires), as determined by ASTM Standards. By 2010, fire-safe cigarette legislation was in effect in 47 states. From 2003 to 2010, the number of civilian deaths in smoking-material fires fell by an average of 21 percent.
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