NJ restricts cigarette sales to 'fire-safe' smokes

Legislation allowing only "fire-safe" cigarettes to be sold in New Jersey took effect Sunday.

According to New Jersey's Division of Fire Safety, 204 fires were started by the improper use of smoking materials in 2006. The study also says 14 percent of fire fatalities in the state that year were caused by cigarettes.

Fire safety advocacy groups say cigarette-related blazes are the leading cause of home fire fatalities in the country. Between 700 and 900 smokers die in fires caused by their cigarettes each year, according to experts.

Self-extinguishing cigarettes are manufactured with an extra band of paper that puts out the cigarette if it isn't being puffed. Officials hope the law will prevent fatalities and damage caused by cigarette-related fires.

Stores selling non-complying cigarettes could face penalties of up to $250,000.

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