EU regulation for cigarettes with lower ignition propensity

Born in a hearing of the European Parliament of February 2007, the idea of European regulations for cigarettes with lower ignition propensity (LIP) has been discussed since by the Alliance of the National Health Authorities. In the Commission Implementing Decision (2011/496/EU) of 9 August 2011, the European Commission has now decided that as of 17 November 2011, only cigarettes with lower ignition propensity are allowed to be placed on the market. The tobacco industry has already started the introduction of the new cigarette.

These new safety cigarettes may cut the yearly death toll in Europe by 500 to 700 lives. In the USA, these cigarettes are already common practice. According to official statements, the number of fires caused by cigarettes decreased there from 334,000 in 1980 to 115,000 in 2008.

What is a self-extinguishing cigarette? Typically, what makes these cigarettes different is the paper. At least two bands of special paper are applied on top of the traditional cigarette paper that wraps the tobacco. These bands are akin to roadway "speed bumps" because they slow down the speed at which a cigarette burns. If such a cigarette is left unattended, it will be more likely to self-extinguish than other cigarettes

In order to evaluate the ignition propensity of cigarettes, the US test method ASTM E2187 "Standard Test Method for Measuring the Ignition Strength of Cigarettes" had been developed, and has since been internationally introduced and now taken over in the European Union as standard EN 16156:2010 "Cigarettes - Assessment of the ignition propensity - Safety requirement" and EN ISO 12863:2010 "Standard test method for assessing the ignition propensity of cigarettes". The test method measures the capability of a cigarette, positioned on one of three standard substrates, to generate sufficient heat to continue burning and thus potentially cause ignition of bedding or upholstered furniture.