OTTAWA – Health Minister Ujjal Dosanjh today announced all cigarettes manufactured or imported for sale in Canada must now meet the new national standard intended for ignition propensity which will reduce the risk of fire.
“Cigarettes are currently the number one known cause of fire-related fatalities in Canada ,” said Minister Dosanjh. “I am proud to say, that Canada is now the first country to have a national standard to reduce fire risks from cigarettes. I would like to highlight the work of the Honourable John McKay, Member of Parliament for Scarborough-Guildwood, who brought this issue to Parliament.”
This new standard does not mean fire-safe; a burning object is never completely fire safe. Smokers’ materials are the leading cause of residential fire-related fatalities and loss in Canada every year. The Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs reported for the period 1995-1999 that at least 14,030 fires were started by smokers’ materials. These fires killed 356 people, injured 1,615 and cost more than $200 million in property damage. The victims of these fires are often among society’s most vulnerable, such as children, the elderly and the poor.
Health Canada will be monitoring the marketplace and will take appropriate action where violations to the Tobacco Act are observed. These regulations apply to cigarettes manufactured or imported on or after October 1, 2005 . It could take time for cigarettes that meet the new standard to replace existing stock.