In order to reduce the high risk of smoking-related fire deaths, the European Union (EU) has taken measures regarding cigarettes that are sold in packs (prefabricated packed cigarettes). Since November 2011, there has been a requirement in the EU for these cigarettes to self-extinguish so that they cannot easily set fire to other materials (such as upholstered furniture, mattresses and beddings). This is called the lower ignition propensity (LIP). The envisaged fire-safe character of the current prefabricated cigarettes is an implementation of the requirement to make cigarettes less fire-prone. For reasons of clarity, this report uses the term 'fire-safe cigarette' instead of 'lower ignition propensity (LIP) cigarette'.
The Fire Service Academy, part of the Institute for Safety (IFV), acknowledges the high risk of smoking-related fire deaths; this has been substantiated by its annual study into fatal residential fires. The question is whether the number of victims of residential fires can be reduced by tackling one of the known causes, i.e. burning cigarettes. The Fire Service Academy is therefore interested in the effect of fire-safe cigarettes on fire safety in people's living environment. The goal of the study is to obtain an understanding of the reduced propensity of fire-safe cigarettes to ignite specifically upholstered furniture and of their influence on fire safety in people's living environment. As regards the ignition propensity of fire-safe cigarettes, both their effect under test conditions and their effect in starting a residential fire have been studied. For the purpose of the study, a review was conducted of the available literature, consisting of scientific articles and research reports.
The study reveals that the measure of introducing fire-safe cigarettes plays a limited role in reducing the number of smoking-related fire deaths as there are several factors that influence the probability of smoking-related fire deaths: