Reduced Ignition Propensity cigarette regulations and decline in fires, fire injuries and fatalities in Canada



Reduced Ignition Propensity (RIP) cigarettes, Canada, fire injuries, fire-safe cigarettes.


BACKGROUND: On October 1, 2005, Canada became the first country to implement a nationwide cigarette fire-safety standard for Reduced Ignition Propensity (RIP) cigarettes. The aim of the paper is to estimate the impact of the RIP cigarette regulations on the number of smoking-related fires (SRF), fire injuries (SRFI), and fatalities (SRFF) in Canada.

METHODS: As there are no national fire statistics data, the data from Canadian provinces were studied. The data with smoking mentioned as the source of ignition were found for four provinces and grouped into two time periods: pre-implementation (2000–2004) and post-implementation (2005–2009). Average annual indicators for each period were compared.

RESULTS: In Alberta, the number of home SRF and SRFF did not change much, while small (14%) reduction was observed in SRFI. In British Columbia, the percentage of SRF in all fires decreased by 15% and the number of SRFI and SRFF declined by 41% and 49% respectively. In Ontario, the average number of SRF and SRFI per year slightly decreased; however, the number of SRFF increased. In Saskatchewan, fires caused by smokers’ materials decreased almost by half while number of fatalities and injuries decreased even to a larger extent. Most prominent was the reduction of fatalities and injuries in fires with cigarettes as the source of ignition: they decreased more than three-fold in Saskatchewan.

CONCLUSION: Canadian fire statistics do not allow estimating fire loss reduction as a result of the implemented RIP cigarette regulations for the whole country. Two Canadian provinces (British Columbia and Saskatchewan) experienced substantial reduction in fires ignited by manufactured cigarettes, and a corresponding reduction in the associated fire fatalities and injuries. In Alberta, only the number of smoking fire injuries has shown some decrease. No substantial changes were observed in Ontario, probably due to high level of cigarette smuggling. 


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