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Greater Houston Retailers Cooperative Association, Inc.

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Important Notice - Fire Standard Compliant Cigarette Law

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GHRA Chronicle
 

By Romina Mohammed

Austin, Texas - As of the beginning of the New Year, on January 1, 2010, all cigarettes sold in Texas must be certified as "fire standard compliant." Convenience store retailers may continue to sell existing cigarette inventory if the state tax stamp was affixed to the cigarettes before January 1, 2009

Fire standard compliant cigarettes will have a special marking - normally the letters "FSC" - on the package to indicate compliance with the law and fire standards. Importantly, please use much care and caution in buying any more cigarettes that do not have the special FSC marking. Also, to avoid civil penalties, all retailers are advised by state regulators to not sell any cigarettes after January 1, 2010, unless they are certified, as shown by the special FSC marking. Retailers will receive illustrations of the cigarette package markings from their distributor or wholesaler. Retailers must allow individuals from the State Fire Marshal's Office and Comptroller's Office to inspect the records and stocks of cigarettes sold in their establishment.

Fire standard compliant cigarettes are designed to reduce the amount of time that a cigarette continues to burn when it is not actively being smoked. By reducing the amount of burn time, the cigarette is less likely to ignite furniture or bedding material. Each year between 700 and 900 lives are lost in the United States due to fires started by cigarettes. In Texas, cigarettes ignited more than 6,500 fires and caused more than $37 million in property losses in Texas between 2003 and 2006; 37 civilians lost their lives, 163 civilians and 36 firefighters were injured due to fires that could be directly attributed to cigarettes.

According to a report published by the Harvard School of Public Health, cigarette sales did not decrease after the start of a fire standard compliant cigarette program.

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