THE SEARCH FOR A CIGARETTE LESS LIKELY TO IGNITE FABRICS
On October 5, 2000, Philip Morris (PM) announced in USA Today they were introducing "PaperSelect." This
technology is now available on Merit cigarettes. PM claims "cigarettes made with PaperSelect may be less likely to ignite
certain fabrics*. PaperSelect features ultra-thin paper rings that work like speed bumps, causing the cigarette to burn
slower when the lit end crosses over them. It may even put itself out when resting in an ashtray."
Historically, consumer advocates have called for a cigarette that self-exstinguishes as a high percentage of fires
are caused by burning cigarettes left unattended. The documents in this section illustrate some of the arguments in
this issue area.
*Philip Morris includes a footnote to their claim of a cigarette less likely to ignite certain fabrics: "Cigarettes
made with this paper were evaluated under a laboratory test method designed by the National Institute of Standards
and Technology to measure the likelihood that cigarettes will ignite the three test fabrics specified in this
test method. Under this testing method, these cigarettes produced fewer ignitions of the three fabrics as compared
to the same cigarettes made without the special paper. It is important to note that the test fabrics are not
necessarily representative of the kinds of fabrics one might find in a particular home or elsewhere. These cigarettes
are not "fire safe." Do not handle or dispose of cigarettes made with this special paper with any less care than
other cigarettes. Anything that burns, including cigarettes or cigarette ashes, can cause fire if handled carelessly.
NEED FOR SAFE, FIRE SAFE CIGARETTES
These three documents, news articles relating to the fire-safe cigarette issue,
come from the Philip Morris
document archive -- 2026265507/5518 [1
St. Louis Post-Dispatch - Wednesday, October 18, 2000
Editorial: One hand clapping
THE Philip Morris Co. this week began advertising a safer cigarette. The
cigarettes may still cause lung cancer, heart disease, emphysema, pregnancy
complications and all sorts of bad things. But at least the drapes are
Philip Morris, the nation's largest cigarette manufacturer, is now rolling
its popular Merit brand in special paper that has extra rings of ultra-thin
paper applied at intervals along the cigarette. When the burning ember
reaches the "speed bump" rings, the burning process slows down. Indeed, the
company says the cigarette may even extinguish itself if it's sitting in an
Furthermore, laboratory tests show that certain kinds of fabrics, under
certain conditions, are less likely to ignite when they come into contact
with the new cigarettes.
In the death-merchant world of Big Tobacco, this is what passes for
progress. The American Heart Association says 430,000 Americans a year die
prematurely from smoking, and the new packaging won't help them.
But 1,400 more Americans a year are killed in fires caused by cigarettes,
and the new packaging could help that problem. The problem is particularly
acute among elderly smokers, who are more likely fall asleep with burning
cigarettes in their hands.
Tobacco critics have long claimed that the industry knew how to make
cigarettes less likely to cause fires, but refused to do so. Why the
resistance? The industry says consumers complained in taste-tests that safer
cigarettes didn't taste right. But Richard Kluger, in his
Pulitzer-prize-winning book, "Ashes to Ashes," said the industry "was
reluctant to risk introducing a manufacturing technique that would remind
consumers of still one more way that smoking imperiled human life."
Now, under prodding from the federal government and state legislatures,
Philip Morris has come up with PaperSelect Merits. If consumers accept their
taste, and enough other manufacturers follow suit, smokers and their
families will be marginally safer.
And who knows? Philip Morris could even be doing a favor for its
competitors. In 1997, a fire caused by a workman's carelessly discarded
cigarette caused $750,000 in damages to a North Carolina vacation home owned
by Andrew J. Schindler.
Mr. Schindler is the chairman and chief executive officer of R.J. Reynolds