A new law goes into effect January 1st that will change the design of many cigarettes sold in Missouri.

Missouri will now require all cigarettes sold in the state to be certified as ‘fire safe.’ Assistant State Fire Marshall Greg Carrell explains the difference.

“The most common technology used in this is to wrap the cigarettes with either two or three thin bands of a less porous paper. A lot of people call them ‘speed bumps.’ Basically, what it does is slow down the burning cigarette. If it’s left unattended, the burning tobacco reaches one of these speed bumps and should self-extinguish,” Carrell said.

But Carrell says ‘fire-safe’ is somewhat of a misnomer.

“While this certainly will reduce the risk, there is always a potential risk of a cigarette still sparking a fire. We still want people to be safe with their smoking materials,” Carrell said.

Missouri is a little late to the party, as it becomes the 47th state to institute this kind of law.

“It does make it somewhat easier for us since the cigarette manufacturers are all coming in compliance with the standard. As a matter of fact, fire safe cigarettes have actually been sold in our state in many different brands for probably the last year or so. So I doubt anyone will notice a huge change,” Carrell said.

Retailers can be fined if they sell cigarettes that do not meet the new guidelines.

“It is up to the retailers to make sure the product that are on their shelves are correct. The consumer should be looking for it too. It’s clearly marked by the UPC with the letters “FSC,” that’s how they know they have a fire standard compliant cigarette,”

Carrell suspects most of the non-approved cigarettes that were left in the market were sold off the shelves already.

AUDIO: Ryan Famuliner reports [1 min MP3]