The Fire Standard Compliant Cigarette Program ensures that every brand/style of cigarette sold in Massachusetts has been tested in accordance with the American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM) standard E2187-04 Standard Test Method for Measuring the Ignition Strength of Cigarettes as required by the Fire Standard Compliant Cigarette law (M.G.L. c. 64C, § 2A-2F). The program independently measures compliance by randomly purchasing cigarettes and having them tested. When fire investigators identify cigarettes are involved in starting fatal fires, we attempt to test cigarettes form that same manufacturing run as well.
The goal is to prevent indoor smoking fires, and the program has been remarkably effective. From 2001 to 2007, an average of 70 cigarette fires per year originated on bedding or upholstered furniture, with about five deaths annually. Since the inception of the FSC law, the average has fallen to 27 fires per year, with about three deaths annually.
Fire Standard Compliant (FSC) Cigarette Program
The Fire Standard Compliant (FSC) Cigarette Program ensures that every brand style of cigarette sold in Massachusetts meets the fire resistance standards set in the Fire Standard Compliant Cigarette law (M.G.L. c. 64C, § 2A-2F). Every three (3) years, cigarette manufacturers must certify that their product has passed the required tests and meet the standard. The goal is to prevent smoking fires by having cigarettes not being actively smoked self-extinguish. The program independently measures compliance by randomly purchasing cigarettes throughout the Commonwealth and having them tested. When fire investigators identify cigarettes are involved in starting fatal fires, we attempt to locate point of purchase and test cigarettes from that same batch.
All 50 states have adopted the same standard making this a de facto national standard.
FSC Certification of Cigarettes for Sale in MA
Cigarette manufacturers must have every brand style of cigarette they wish to sell in Massachusetts certified or re-certified by submitting the FSC Certification Form to the Massachusetts Fire Standard Compliant Certification Program.
The $3,000 certification fee per brand style is renewable every three years. The fee supports the program and enforcement activities. Enforcement is a critical component of the law's effectiveness. We purchase cigarettes randomly throughout the state and conduct independent testing to ensure cigarettes sold in MA meet the standard.
Every cigarette package must be marked to indicate that they meet the reduced ignition propensity standards. The mark should appear as "FSC" at or near the UPC on all packs, carton and cases of cigarettes.
Cigarette Caused Fires and Cigarette Fire Checklist
Every fire department has been asked make it department policy to determine, whenever possible, if cigarettes involved in fires whether or they were fire standard compliant. In addition, the State Police Commander of the Fire & Explosion Investigation Section assigned to DFS has made it part of their investigation protocol as well.
Fire investigators should complete the Cigarette Fire Checklist and submit it to the Fire Data and Public Education Unit at the DFS Division of Fire Safety every time a fire investigation determines the cause of the fire to be a cigarette. If you have any questions about reporting fires, please contact Derryl Dion, Research Analyst and MFIRS Manager at (978) 567-3382 or Derryl.Dion@state.ma.us. This checklist is in addition to and not a replacement for the fire department's mandatory reporting of fires via the Massachusetts Fire Incident Reporting System (MFIRS).