ASTM Internationalhas joined the Coalition for Fire-Safe Cigarettes, a national group of fire service members, consumer and disabled rights advocates, medical and public health practitioners and other related organizations. The purpose of the CFSC, which has been coordinated by the National Fire Protection Association, is to save lives and prevent injuries and damage that result from cigarette-ignited fires.
The CFSC is calling on cigarette manufacturers to produce and market cigarettes that adhere to an established cigarette fire safety performance standard that is based on ASTM E 2187, Test Method for Measuring the Ignition Strength of Cigarettes. In addition, the CFSC is encouraging states to follow the lead of New York, California and Vermont, all of which have mandated that only fire-safe cigarettes be sold in their states. A similar regulation is in place in Canada.
Home fires caused by cigarettes kill between 700 to 900 people in the United States each year. Thousands more suffer burn and lung injuries in these fires, which cause 400 million dollars in property damage. However, the use of cigarettes that have a reduced propensity to burn when left unattended will help prevent thousands of these fires.
Test Method E 2187, which was approved in 2002 and is under the jurisdiction of ASTM International Committee E05 on Fire Standards, predicts a cigarettes capacity to ignite upholstered furniture and bedding. "A cigarette that goes out more readily in the test is less likely to have enough energy to start a chair or bed burning," says Richard Gann, a senior research scientist with the Building and Fire Research Laboratory at the National Institute of Standards and Technology who led the team that developed the ASTM standard.
Gann and other NIST scientists researched the interaction of cigarettes with soft furnishings (such as upholstered furniture and beds) under the auspices of the Cigarette Safety Act of 1984 and the Fire Safe Cigarette Act of 1990, both of which were initiated by the late Congressman Joseph Moakley (D-Mass.).
ASTM International has joined to the following organizations to make up the CFSC:
- National Fire Protection Association;
- American Burn Association;
- American Fire Sprinkler Association;
- AMERIND Risk Management Corporation;
- Center for Campus Fire Safety;
- Home Safety Council;
- International Association of Arson Investigators;
- International Association of Black Professional Fire Fighters;
- International Association of Fire Chiefs;
- International Association of Fire Fighters;
- International Association of Fire Marshals;
- Metropolitan Fire Chiefs;
- National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians;
- National Association of Hispanic Firefighters;
- National Association of State Fire Marshals;
- National Fallen Firefighters Foundation;
- National Volunteer Fire Council;
- Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors;
- Safe Kids Worldwide; and
- Trauma Foundation.
For further information on Test Method E 2187, contact Richard Gann (phone: 301/975-6866; firstname.lastname@example.org). Committee E05 will meet June 11-14, at the June Committee Week in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. For ASTM membership or Committee E05 meeting details, contact Tom OToole, ASTM International (phone: 610/832-9739; email@example.com).