Lawmakers officially introduce fire-safe cigarette legislation, requiring the sale of only self-extinguishing cigarettes in Wisconsin.
State Senator Judy Robson (D-Beloit) says this bill is designed to prevent fires caused by unattended cigarettes.
"We have seen an increase in fires that have been caused by the careless use of smoking material. And it happens much too often."
Beloit Fire Chief Brad Liggett points out that fire departments are charged with fire prevention. He says fire prevention should be equal to — or even greater than — fire fighting. He says eliminating a cause of fire, reduces the chance of death.
Madison Fire Chief Debra Amesqua says the careless use of cigarettes is the leading cause of residential fire deaths, killing about 1,000 Americans a year.
"Most smoking-related home fires happen on beds, on furniture, in the trash can when the smoker puts out the cigarette in an inappropriate way; Or hot ashes are tossed in the trash; Or when a smoker falls asleep with a cigarette in their hand."
Amesqua says fire departments nationwide are encouraging smokers to deal with their cigs in three ways:
"You put it out … all the way out … every time."
State Representative Doc Hines (R-Oxford) says Wisconsin has always been a national leader when it comes to public health. He says requiring fire safe cigarettes will dramatically reduce the number of fatal fires in our state, reason enough, he believes, to pass this legislation, which they hope to do by the end of the year.
Twenty-two states have already enacted similar legislation.
Also see: www.firesafecigarettes.org