Smoke and Mirrors
As a frequently stopped smoker and even more sadly, an avid reader of European and UK safety legislation I draw your attention to the announcement of a new EN standard published on 12th November entitled “EN 16156 Cigarettes – Assessment of the ignition propensity.”

According to the blurb this is I quote – “a new European standard for fire safer cigarettes that extinguish themselves.” It apparently details Fire safety requirements for what are mystifyingly termed reduced ignition propensity cigarettes that are designed to stop burning through their whole length when not, and I quote, being “actively smoked”. The standard complements another tome published this September, ISO 12863 Standard test method for assessing the ignition propensity for cigarettes.

Both the standards may be in force across the EU as early as November 2011.

Now given the much publicised propensity for unnecessary and downright crazy legislation emanating from the European Parliament I wonder at the thinking behind this standard. I presume that at our expense some team of scientists has determined what defines an actively smoked cigarette. Of course it has to be lit in the first place but how often you take a puff is surely down to individual preference. I can see a new crime of fag rage taking hold when frustrated smokers find they are continually relighting to sate their addiction. I am (currently was) a slow puffer and much of my cigarette burnt away between drags whilst conversely my brother smokes roll ups which free from all the unnecessary additives requires more frequent puffing to stay alight. I fully expect further legislation forcing smokers into puffing at predetermined time intervals or face immediate incarceration for failure to actively smoke.

The up side for us is that sales of our sophisticated cigarette smoke detectors that issue stern verbal warning messages will rocket with possibly a script changed to “Active smoking is prohibited”.