Campaign Applauds Sen. Durbin, Sen.… | Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
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Campaign Applauds Sen. Durbin, Sen. Brownback and Rep. Markey for Carrying Out Rep. Joe Moakley's Fight to Reduce Fires Caused by Cigarettes

Statement of William V. Corr, Executive Vice-President Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
April 25, 2002

Washington, DC — In 1979, in Westwood, Massachusetts, five children and their parents died in a tragic fire caused by a cigarette. Every year 900 Americans, including roughly 100 children, suffer a similar fate. These fires also injure more than 2,400 people and cause more than $400 million in property damage annually. The Westwood family inspired a Congressman to take action. Until his recent death, Rep. Joe Moakley (D-MA) fought in Congress to create standards for the paper used in cigarettes which would greatly reduce the risk of accidental fire and save hundreds of lives.

The CAMPAIGN FOR TOBACCO-FREE KIDS applauds Sen. Durbin (D-IL), Sen. Brownback (R-KS) and Rep. Markey (D-MA) for continuing Rep. Moakley's fight and introducing the Joseph Moakley Memorial Fire Safe Cigarette Act.

This important public health and safety legislation would require cigarette manufacturers to use paper that is much less likely to continue to burn if left unattended, thus preventing accidental fires. The tobacco industry itself has proven that such paper is readily available and the widespread use of it will not cause a significant price increase. There should be no further delay in the implementation and use of this technology for all cigarettes.

The Joseph Moakley Memorial Fire Safe Cigarette Act would also authorize the Consumer Products' Safety Commission (CPSC) to update its fire-resistant standard as improvements in technology make that feasible. And importantly, the legislation would not prevent States from enacting more stringent fire-resistant requirements should they decide to do so.

By introducing this bill, Sen. Durbin, Sen. Brownback and Rep. Markey are honoring Rep. Moakley and the Massachusetts family that inspired this legislation initially. We hope that both chambers of Congress will act quickly on this legislation.