Missouri is close to becoming one of the last states to require self-extinguishing cigarettes, known to the tobacco industry as "reduced ignition propensity" cigarettes. The technology was developed when New York passed a law requiring safer cigarettes five years ago. Basically, RIP cigarettes go out if the smoker stops puffing them, instead of continuing to burn to the end, sometimes after being discarded into waste baskets or after the smoker has gone to sleep in bed. .
The House and Senate have passed slightly different versions of the bill which has tobacco industry and retailers support. The House is expected to take final action soon.
Senate Sponsor Jack Goodman says the law will require each cigarette brand family to be certified every three years. "Primarily the technology that is used is either a particular kind of paper or bands that are placed in two places on the cigarette," he explains. Testing of the technology is is up to the state fire marshal. Retailers that sell un-certified cigarettes are open to fines of as much as $10,000 for each day of the violation.
Backers say the law should drastically reduced fires caused by careless smoking. As recently as 2001, the American Legacy Foundation counted more than 31-thousand such fires nationally causing 830 deaths.
Missouri could become the 41st state to prohibit any other kind of cigarettes from being sold.