In 2009, Texas became the 49th state to enact the law requiring all cigarettes to be "fire standard compliant". This new law is set to take effect on January 1st. The new cigarettes will be the only kind available for purchase across the entire state of Texas.
The purpose of this law is to limit the number of fires and subsequent deaths cause every year by careless use of cigarettes. The Texas Department of Insurance reported 6,800 such fires between 2003 and 2006. These fires took 37 lives and injured some 196 others, including 36 firefighters.
The new cigarettes are made to be self-extinguishing. The tobacco will be encased in extra layers of paper in order to slow the rate at which the cigarettes burn. The promise is not to stop ignition completely. However, the hope is to slow it enough that the number of fires will be greatly reduced.
So, Amarillo area retailers are literally going 'out with the old an in with the new' on January 1st. Otherwise, they face a fine of $100.00 per pack for sales of the banned cigarettes. They have had one full year to prepare their inventories for the big change, as the law was announced in January 2009. For more information on the new fire-safe cigarettes visit http://www.firesafecigarettes.org.