TRENTON, N.J. – Today, New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Joseph Doria announced that effective June 1, only cigarettes that meet New Jersey’s new fire safe cigarette standards will be permitted to be sold in New Jersey.  These cigarettes will “self-extinguish” if not puffed on, decreasing the risk of sleep related cigarette fires.  The new law is the result of the Reduced Cigarette Ignition Propensity and Firefighter Protection Act (A2575/S2043).

“Cigarette related fires continue to be a dangerous hazard to the residents of New Jersey,” said Commissioner Doria.  “These new standards are one way of fighting that danger head on and I thank the sponsors of this legislation for their efforts to make families safer.”

According to DCA’s Division of Fire Safety (DFS), 78% of structure fires reported in New Jersey in 2006 were in residences.  204 of those fires were started by the improper use of smoking materials and they resulted in 14% of all civilian fire fatalities.”

“The fire service has long known that cigarettes account for serious and often fatal fires,” said DFS Director and State Fire Marshal Lawrence Petrillo.  “This legislation is yet another tool in our fire safety arsenal that we believe will result in a reduction in fatalities caused by the misuse of smoking materials.”

The Reduced Cigarette Ignition Propensity and Firefighter Protection Act, which was signed into law in May of 2007, was modeled after similar legislation in New York State.  The DFS will be the primary enforcement agency of the new law, while the Division of Taxation and the Attorney Generals Office will also have enforcing roles.  Penalties of up to $250,000 and the confiscation of non-complying cigarettes are possible under the statute.

For more information on the DFS, please call 609-633-6106 or log on to http://www.state.nj.us/dca/dfs/.