Bill limits cigarettes to fire-safe versions
Hawaii follows 27 other states in passing the measure, which would take effect in '09
By 2009, smoking in your home might get a little safer after state lawmakers passed a bill requiring only fire-safe cigarettes be sold in Hawaii.
Hawaii follows 27 other states that have enacted or passed similar fire-safe cigarette laws, according to the Web site www.firesafecigarettes.org.
» House Bill 2438: Creates the Reduced Ignition Propensity Cigarettes law, which would establish a process to ensure only fire-safe cigarettes are sold in Hawaii. If signed into law, the requirement would go into effect on Sept. 30, 2009.
» House Bill 2436: Amends the definition of display fireworks and clarifies prohibitions. Some new prohibitions include throwing fireworks for, at or into a vehicle; at a person or an animal; from above the first floor of a building; or in designated forest or wildlife preserves, among others. The bill was signed into law April 25.
» House Bill 2467: Clarifies the procedure for county adoption of the state Fire Code, and for the code to become part of the building code. It requires the state to conduct fire and safety inspections of airports at least once a year.
» Senate Bill 2425: Allows for convicted arsonists to reimburse for firefighting costs. The costs could include personnel salaries, overtime, equipment used, maintenance and operation. The bill was signed into law April 16.
The bill passed by the Legislature this week would establish a process to require only fire-safe cigarettes be sold in Hawaii by Sept. 30, 2009.
Those cigarettes are wrapped in special paper that burns slowly and extinguishes the cigarettes after a short time if left unattended.
Almost 1,000 people have died nationwide due to fires caused by smoking indoors, said Honolulu Fire Chief Kenneth Silva. He did not have local statistics.
"While fire-safe cigarettes are less likely to cause a fire, the fire service will continue to educate the public that smoking-materials-related fires can be prevented by not smoking in bed or when sleepy, and of the importance of keeping matches and lighters out of children's sight and reach," he said.
At a news conference yesterday, the bill's author, Rep. Ryan Yamane (D, Waipahu-Mililani), said discussions with cigarette manufacturers revealed that they encouraged the law and that it would come at no extra cost to smokers.
The bill was part of a legislative package proposed by the State Fire Council, which is made up of the four county fire chiefs.
Another bill that is now law would require convicted arsonists to reimburse the costs associated with extinguishing a fire.
"They've got to give back for what they've done," said Rep. Cindy Evans (D, Makalawena-Waimea).