STOCKTON, Calif. – Many smokers are willing to walk a mile for a Camel, but will they be willing to puff a little harder?
Six States Requiring Safer Smokes.
A new California state law that took effect this week requires stores to sell cigarettes that are designed to go out if the smoker stops puffing or drops the cigarette.
Six states have adopted legislation requiring the self-snuffing smokes in an effort to prevent fires.
The new cigarettes have tiny paper bands through which flame is not supposed to burn without the smoker puffing on the cigarette. New York was the first state to require “fire-safe” cigarettes, in June 2004, according to the Sacramento Bee. Vermont, Illinois, New Hampshire and Massachusetts also passed similar laws.
The National Fire Protection Association said that three out of four fires caused by cigarettes could be averted with the safer variety.
Authorities said cigarettes are the leading cause of home fire fatalities, killing more than 700 people each year. One in three of the victims is a child, according so Sacramento TV station KCRA.
Regular cigaretes burn to the end, which can take 10 to 20 minutes. But a fire-safe cigarette stops within a minute after being puffed.
Robert Tuitavuki of the Stockton Fire Department said fires are often caused when people leave cigarettes unattended or fall asleep while smoking.
At some stores, owners have been hearing complaints from customers.
Sunil Sharma of Washington Market said he knows of one customer who stopped coming in because the cigarettes being sold are designed for safety.
Some smokers said they notice a difference in taste, but most said they would rather relight than quit smoking.
R.J. Reynolds and Philip Morris, two of the largest cigarette makers, want a uniform mandate across the United States. The mandate would be set by Congress, which, according to the paper, which has not taken action.
“We don’t want to see a patchwork where states might implement different laws with different standards,” John Singleton, communications director for Reynolds’ parent firm, told the paper.
In 2005, the first full year that New York required the “fire-safe” cigarettes, the state reported a 10 percent reduction in the number of smoking-related fires, the paper reported. It also said that there was a 26 percent reduction in the number of smoking-related fire deaths, compared to the annual averages from 2000 through 2003.
South Dakota Smokers Traveling To Iowa
South Dakota smokers are paying more after a dollar-a-pack tax increase went into affect on Monday. And those who aren’t ready to quit are now trying to find a way to save money while lighting up.
KELOLAND News visited a gas station in Larchwood, Iowa on Saturday to see how many South Dakotans are crossing the border to buy cigarettes. And every few minutes a smoker from South Dakota would come in to buy a pack or carton of cigarettes.
Larchwood, Iowa is just about five miles from the South Dakota border. Because it’s so close, businesses in the area are seeing an influx in cigarette and Snus Nicotine customers.
Larry and Fran Zuraff own this convenience store. They say now they need to order cigarettes twice a week, rather than just once. Larry Zuraff says, “People are coming in with a shopping list and buying. They’re making the trip from Sioux Falls. It’s a twenty minute trip, and they’re coming and buying for two or three people at a time.”
The Zuraff’s are having a hard time keeping up with the increased demand.
Smoker asks, “Do you have Marlboro’s 127 by chance?” Fran Zuraff says, “I just sold the last carton.”
But these smokers don’t mind… smoker asks, “What’s the next closest town?”
Anita Wollman of Sioux Falls says, “It costs me about a dollar in gas to come out here where I can pay what a carton of cigarettes should be versus 40 some dollars in Sioux Falls.” Pam Raile of Sioux Falls agrees, “It’s only 15 minutes from Sioux Falls. It’s a nice little drive out.”
And once the Zuraffs get used to the number of new customers, they’ll be able to meet their needs more accurately. Larry Zuraff says, “It’s been very confusing. We’re seeing stuff come in that we’ve never seen before.”
But they’re hoping the new customers will keep coming… He says, “We’ve always had gas customers, but now we’re seeing people come back and say we’ll be back for a tank of gas and four cartons of cigarettes every two weeks.” And the Zuraffs are happy to have the new business.
The low cigarette tax in Iowa doesn’t look like it will be around too much longer. Legislative leaders in both parties in Iowa are predicting the state’s tax to go up this year. Governor-elect Chet Culver supports a dollar-a-pack tax increase.