Is the government poisoning you? Below you will find some basic information on FSC Cigarettes and health complaints from people who have been smoking them. If you would like to leave a voicemail of your complaint for this site please leave a message about your experience with FSC Cigarettes by calling 1-310-492-5043 or E-Mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Don't include your telephone number in your voicemail as it will be posted on this site.
Fire safe cigarette
Fire safe cigarettes (abbreviated "FSC": also known as Lower Ignition Propensity [LIP], Reduced Fire Risk [RFR], self-extinguishing, fire-safe or Reduced Ignition Propensity [RIP] cigarettes) are cigarettes that are designed to extinguish more quickly than standard cigarettes if ignored, with the intention of preventing accidental fires. In the United States, "FSC" above the barcode signifies that the cigarettes sold are Fire Standards Compliant (FSC).
Fire safe cigarettes are produced by adding two bands of the FSC chemical to the cigarette paper during manufacture in order to slow the burn rate at the bands. Because this process decreases the burn rate and does not prevent unattended cigarettes from igniting nearby materials or tinder, the term "fire-safe" has been called a misnomer which could lead smokers to believe that these cigarettes are less likely to cause fires than standard cigarettes.
Many materials can be used to make the bands in the paper, including cellulosic or other polymeric materials. Different companies use different materials (including thicker bands of paper) for the ‘speed bumps’ in order to comply with regulations. Most commercial cigarette papers in fact use cellulosic and alginate bands; however many patents have been registered in the literature in relation to materials that could be used to make the bands, including EVA polymer ethylene vinyl acetate. When burned, the polymer of EVA becomes unstable, and the health risks of inhalation are not known. EVA and PVA polyvinyl acetate polymer adhesives have been used by the tobacco industry for many years, and are the industry standards.
A similar quantity of PVA polymer is required to glue the paper seam in a fire safe cigarette as in a standard cigarette.
EVA polymer must not be confused with the EVA monomer, which is a reactive species with some toxic properties.
Responses from tobacco companies
Philip Morris USA (PM) now actively supports legislation. Philip Morris uses cigarette paper technology known as "banded cigarette paper" to comply with the performance standard in the FSC laws. This is created by applying bands to the cigarette paper using ingredients already used in non-FSCs. Its FSCs are labeled with the term “FSC” on the pack above the UPC. The company has reported that the widely-used adhesive polymers EVA and PVA are used as side-seam adhesives in its cigarettes. Philip Morris USA does not distinguish levels of use between regular and fire-safe cigarettes. However, the amounts stated do not exceed 0.6% combined.
In October 2007, R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company (RJR) said that by the end of 2009 it would only be selling FSCs in the United States.
Response from consumers
Some consumers in the United States claim they have found a noticeable difference in the taste of FSC cigarettes from non-FSC cigarettes, comparing it to a copper or metallic taste. Other symptoms reported include an itchy rash, (allergic reaction), severe headache, vomiting, diarrhea, mouth sores, and nose bleeds. Many of these symptoms are also closely associated with carbon monoxide (CO) toxicity. When organic matter is burned with insufficient oxygen, carbon monoxide (CO) is produced. FSC cigarettes are designed to self-extinguish by reducing the oxygen supply to the burning tobacco. The health risks associated with increased long-term (CO) exposure range from mild to severe, and are well documented. Currently there are no studies linking FSC cigarettes to increased (CO) levels. There has been a rise in people rolling their own cigarettes instead of continuing to smoke FSC and there have also been petitions regarding FSC. One current petition has been signed by over 27,000 people that attest to the negatives of FSC cigarettes.
Currently there are no findings published on the long term health effects on humans of inhaling EVA co-polymers. Results of tests conducted on rodents show the risks associated with 'Ethylene Vinyl Acetate copolymer emulsion based adhesive' include triggering the cellular proliferation necessary for tumor development.
Response from media
Rebecca Brooks from the Huffington Post, an American news website, wrote an article questioning the wisdom of fire safe cigarettes on 31 March 2010 entitled Fire Safe Cigarette Laws: More Harm than Good. The article asks, "When is it justifiable to penalize many to possibly save a few?... Cooking-related fires are the number one cause of home fires. Should fire retardants be put in vegetable oil? People probably shouldn't eat fried food anyway; maybe some would quit. Irresponsible drivers kill innocent people. Should cars be banned?"
As of January 1, 2010, the fire-safe cigarette law was in effect in 43 states. It has been signed into law and will become effective in all states and the District of Columbia by 2012. State laws generally contain provisions permitting the sale of non-FSCs that have been tax-stamped by wholesalers and retailers in the state prior to the effective date of the state’s FSC law. The laws require cigarettes to exhibit a greater likelihood of self-extinguishing using a prescribed laboratory test method, E2187, developed by ASTM International (formerly, the American Society for Testing & Materials). The E2187 standard is cited in U.S. state legislation and is the basis for the fire-safe cigarette law in effect in Canada. It is being considered for legislation in other countries.
In 1929, a cigarette-ignited fire in Lowell, Massachusetts, caught the attention of U.S. Congresswoman Edith Nourse Rogers (D-MA); she called for the National Bureau of Standards (NBS) to develop technology for "self-snubbing" cigarettes. The Boston Herald American covered the story on 31 March 1932, noting that after three years of research the NBS had developed a “self-snubbing” cigarette and had suggested that cigarette manufacturers “take up the idea.” None did.
In 1973 the United States Congress established the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to protect the public from hazardous products. Congress excluded tobacco products from its jurisdiction while assigning it responsibility for flammable fabrics. The CPSC regulated the flammability of mattresses and worked with furniture manufacturers to establish voluntary flammability standards for upholstered furniture, although more recently those standards have come to be considered mandatory.
In 1978 Andrew McGuire, a burn survivor, activist and winner of a 1985 MacArthur Fellowship for his work on the flammability of children's sleepwear, started a grassroots campaign to prevent house fire deaths by changing the cigarette. McGuire secured funding for an investigation into cigarettes and fires which became Cigarettes and Sofas: How the Tobacco Lobby Keeps the Home Fires Burning. Massachusetts congressman Joe Moakley introduced federal FSC legislation in the autumn of 1979 after a cigarette fire in his district killed a family of seven; California senator Alan Cranston authored a matching Senate bill.
The US Tobacco Institute financed a fire prevention education program in parallel with the campaign Fighting Fire with Firemen.
In 1984 the Cigarette Safety Act funded a three-year study under the auspices of the CPSC. This reported to US Congress in 1987 that it was technically feasible and maybe commercially feasible to make a cigarette that was less likely to start fires. Legislative activity continued in the states while the federal government, cigarette companies and advocates discussed next steps. McGuire and colleagues continued to inform advocates about cigarette fires and prevention strategies, legislation and liability.
A compromise led to the US Fire Safe Cigarette Act of 1990. The resulting study, while contentious, laid the groundwork for a flammability test method for cigarettes. Federal efforts to implement a standard stalled, as the Reagan and Bush administrations preferred free markets to regulation. The grassroots campaign focused on state efforts. McGuire continued to publish progress reports.
In 2000, New York passed the first state law requiring the introduction of cigarettes that have a lower likelihood of starting a fire, with flammability evaluated by the NIST test. By spring 2006 four more states had passed laws modeled on New York's: Vermont, New Hampshire, California, and Illinois. McGuire published a campaign update. The National Fire Protection Association decided to fund the Fire Safe Cigarette Coalition to accelerate this grassroots movement.
Since 1982, fifteen lawsuits have been filed regarding cigarette-ignited fire deaths and injuries. The first successful lawsuit resulted in a settlement for a toddler severely burned in car fire allegedly caused by a cigarette.
In November 2008, Citizens Against Fire-Safe Cigarettes started an online petition, citing many of the known risks of these cigarettes and advocating individual responsibility in preference to federal regulation.
On October 1, 2005, Canada became the first country to implement a nationwide cigarette fire safety standard. The law requires that all cigarettes manufactured in or imported into Canada must burn their full length no more than 25% of the time when tested using ASTM International method E2187-04: Standard Test Method for Measuring the Ignition Strength of Cigarettes. The law is based on the New York State legislation. Each year in Canada, fires started by smokers' materials kill approximately 70 people and cause 300 injuries, according to a study conducted by the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs.
On November 30, 2007, 27 EU states approved a European Commission proposal which would require the tobacco industry to use fire-retardant paper in all cigarettes. The European Committee for Standardization has said that these types of products would be universally available. In November 2010, the General Product Safety Directive (GPSD) Committee of the European Commission agreed the standard and reached the consensus that enforcement of the standard (including at the point of sale to consumers) should start “about 12 months from its publication by CEN” – this would be around 17 November 2011. This start date for enforcement will be marked by the publication of reference to the standard in the Official Journal of the European Union.
In the UK a proposal to ban the "old style" cigarettes in order to implement a fire-safe alternative was dropped as it will be encompassed within the EU directive.
West of Scotland MSP Stewart Maxwell has been a long-time advocate of ‘fire-safer cigarettes’ and has called for Scotland to take a lead in developing a European standard. Maxwell has consistently called on the Scottish Government to use its influence to pressure the UK Government to ensure the introduction of ‘fire safer cigarettes’ as soon as possible.
In Australia, around 14 people are claimed to die annually from cigarette related fires. The government has accepted the proposal for FSCs and is in the process of implementing regulations. Cigarette companies were required to change their products to ensure that cigarettes self-extinguish more readily before the regulations came into effect in March 2010.
"These cigarettes make me sick with nausea, headaches, and sore throat. They have to stop."
"I truly believe these FSC are far more than dangerous than we know. The chemical modifications made under this pretense are sure to increase the mortality rate of smokers. Anyone can see the immediate effects in the raw taste and sore throat, but can only imagine the real term effects. In addition, upon having to re-light the FSC's, I have suffered quite a few burns to both skin and fabric as the speed-bump will drop off as the cigarette reignites. There is no time to get it safely into an ashtray. At best, this is a defect, at worst is is a poison, and any way you look at it, it is another violation of smoker's rights."
"These new cigarettes are making people sick we need to sue any one involved with putting them on the market."
"When I was smoking regular cigarettes, I had no problems. I didn't take these anti-fsc petitions so seriously. Then my cigarettes started to change character. They tasted chemically, I began coughing like crazy, headaches, fatigue, severe sinuses. I looked and it said, FSC. Well, that explains it. Did any doctors, or scientsists research the additives in FSC's? No, they looked the other way. The logic is kill smokers quicker in the name of political correctness. All that's needed is lawyers, lobbyists, lots of bribe money, legislators, and you can get away with genocide, it seems. If FSC's are more toxic, wait a few decades and there will be plenty of lawsuits, if smoking isn't altogether illegal."
"I have smoked the same brand for years until it went to fsc so i tried a different brand that was not fsc yet.The first day i could breath and did not get a headache.Then that brand went fsc and now i cant breath,headaches and stomach problems."
"I have been experiencing mouth burning, sores on my tounge, sore throat, coughing, bad taste in mouth and tight chest since the FSC came out! Very bad!!"
"Have had bad stomach problems. I understand that they reduced someting in the paper since I don't have to constantly puff on it to keep it going. We choose to keep smoking because of a unstoppable habit. Why is this country trying to kill me sooner?"
"I have always smoked additive free cigarettes. So, the idea that one more chemical does not increase the risk to smokers does not sit well with me. I experienced most of the side effects mentioned. Also, my cigarettes used to go out on their own because there was more tobacco in them - now they no longer do. Please remove the carpet glue from the paper. "
"Government population control idea gone bad. Prohibition didn't work for alcohol, and the FSC cigarettes are causing more harm than good. Please repeal this law."
"Historically, countries and their governments have been well known for trying to kill off its people but this is nothing short of quick murder--first our country pushes cigarettes even by making them standard issue in military kits and now determine that MORE chemicals will kill us quicker and burn us up to boot--since this new public outrage against smokers, there hasn't been much said about drug users who use mind altering drugs that debilitate and cause them to rob and kill to get them--all we want is to get a good smoke from a cigarette that doesn't change how we think or act--its the same old thing 'swallow a camel and gag at a gnat' that creates problems for everyone and ultimately, it comes down to the almight dollar! When will the people ever come together to say that its enough and big government needs to learn its place!"
"Have had sore throat since FSC and constant sickness!!! (over a year now) The taste was/is horrible, these need to go."
"I and many others are and have been complaining of wierd syptoms for years not realizing that it was and is probally the results of fsc, which on blogs many ppl are confessing the same symptoms as everyone else i know!!!"
"The so called fire safe cigarettes are a health hazzard,they make me sick every time I smoke one it even put me in hospital four days they are bad."
"Cigs w/FSC make me sick, head & stomach. Cough more. Ashes fall off, have to keep lighting them..etc. could go on and on. Stop making them! I make my own roll or tubes, no FSC in those, big difference in taste and sickness...proof right there."
"Have had constant cough with yellow/green sputum, burning throat and now coughing up small specks of blood, quit smoking last night...i will miss it."
"The fsc are NASTY!! Can't stop coughing and very bad headaches."
"fire safe cigs burn my wind pipe and are harder to inhale than non fsc."
"I don't know about any body else, since the smokes haave changed, my throat feels like it's burned, and my tounge does too. Does anybody else go thur this?"
"FSC's have cause a world of health issues, such as sores in my throat, constant coughing and coughing up blood, headaches, high B.P."