The number of people killed and injured in fires caused by cigarettes could be dramatically reduced thanks to new life saving legislation, says London Fire Brigade.
Following a London Fire Brigade campaign, the European Commission has agreed a 'fire safer standard' on all cigarettes sold in the European Union (EU).
This means by November next year all cigarettes must be manufactured to have bands down the length of the paper. These will make the cigarette go out if it is not inhaled by the smoker.
In London around one in three of all fatalities in accidental house fires is caused by cigarettes and other smoking materials. London Fire Brigade is called to around 800 house fires a year which are started in this way. It is estimated that if all cigarettes sold in the EU meet this requirement, 1-2 lives could be saved every day.
Chairman of London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority's Community Safety Committee Cllr Susan Hall said: "We have campaigned long and hard for this legislation to be introduced and now it has, it will undoubtedly save lives. Cigarettes and other smoking materials are the biggest killer when it comes to accidental house fires, with 78 Londoners losing their lives over the last five years. Fire safer cigarettes are good news for London Fire Brigade and good news for the safety of Londoners."
If a cigarette does not comply with the legislation trading standards would be able to take action - such as withdrawing the cigarettes from the market.