To: All Heads of Fire Departments
From: Stephen D. Coan, State Fire Marshal
Date: August 1, 2006
Re: Passage of "Safe Cigarette Bill"

On July 8, 2006, Massachusetts became the sixth state in the country to require tobacco manufacturers to sell only reduced ignition propensity ("RIP") or "fire safe cigarettes." The bill was approved by the House and Senate and signed by Governor Romney on July 8, 2006. The law takes effect January 1, 2008, in order to clear the current inventory of cigarettes.

This legislation was the culmination of many years of effort by various state officials, the fire service, and consumer advocates. Under the new law, cigarettes sold after January 1, 2008, will be required to be sold with special paper, which slows down the burn of the cigarette to prevent smoldering if the cigarette is not being smoked. The Harvard University School of Public Health has conducted research to show that these cigarettes are 90% less likely to cause fires.

The bill is formally named the Kearney-O'Neill-McGovern Law after the Kearney family of West Roxbury, who lose six people in a 1990 fire.

With the addition of Massachusetts, one quarter of the country's population is within states with fire safe cigarette laws; perhaps soon the federal government will mandate their use nationwide.

See for a copy of the bill.