Fire chiefs back fire safe cigarettes


By Alexander Lawrie

FIRE chiefs have given their full-backing to a move to introduce a new safer brand of cigarettes.

Fire safe cigarettes are designed to extinguish themselves if left unattended for a length of time.

Now SNP MSP Stewart Maxwell wants Scotland to become the first country in Europe to introduce the potential life-saving smokes.

Mr Maxwell has lodged a motion with the Scottish Parliament which has the written support of all eight of the country’s fire and rescue services.

Almost half of all deaths caused by fire in Scotland are said to be attributable to smoking.

The revolutionary cigarettes are made by wrapping them with two or three thin bands of less porous paper which act as “speed bumps” to slow down the burning cigarette.

Call for change in law

When the burning tobacco reaches one of the bumps the cigarette will automatically extinguish itself.

Mr Maxwell is calling for a change in the law by Westminster to make the cigarettes compulsory after it was revealed the US state of Vermont introduced legislation in 2005 and have reported not one fire-related death since.

He said: “I am delighted that all the fire brigades across Scotland have indicated support for my motion and hope that this will see early moves to see this legislation introduced as soon as possible.

“I will now be writing to the cabinet secretary for justice to seek his support in pressing the UK government to introduce such legislation.”

Steven Torrie, chief fire officer in central Scotland, said: “There is no doubt in my mind that the introduction of this little known but important technology would bring about a very significant improvement in Scotland’s fire safety record.”

Fife chief fire officer Jimmy Campbell also lent his backing and said a “large number” of people died every year because of smoking-related fires.

He wrote: “This results in a significant social cost for our country. But, more importantly, it is a huge cost in terms of suffering for families and friends left to deal with these tragedies.”