Thanks to nearly three-quarters of a century of research and organizing efforts by members of the public to increase the fire safety of cigarettes, an innovation aimed at reducing risk – fire-safe cigarettes, or “FSC” for short, was created and adopted by state governments throughout the union. See part 1 of this blog here. These cigarettes are intentionally engineered to extinguish more rapidly than traditional ones, with the primary goal of mitigating the risk of accidental fires. They are known by various names, including low ignition propensity (LIP), reduced fire risk (RFR), self-extinguishing, and reduced ignition propensity (RIP) cigarettes. In the United States, if you spot “FSC” above the barcode on a pack of cigarettes, it signifies compliance with specific fire safety standards.

The Science Behind Fire Safety

To meet the FSC performance standard, manufacturers use a technology known as banded cigarette paper. The idea behind this technology is to make the cigarette more likely to self-extinguish. Consequently, FSC cigarettes may extinguish unexpectedly when left unattended.

Here’s how it works:

  • All cigarettes produced by most major manufacturers use banded paper.
  • These bands function like “speed bumps” by reducing the oxygen flow through the paper to the burning tobacco. This slows down the rate at which the cigarette burns as the lit end crosses over them.
  • Importantly, the ingredients used in these bands are consistent with those used when manufacturing non-FSC cigarettes.
  • FSC cigarettes achieve compliance without relying on fire-retardant chemicals, aligning with state fire safety standards.

McKinney Specialty Labs: Leading the Way

McKinney Specialty Labs is the leader in Fire Safe Cigarette (FSC) testing for low ignition propensity (LIP/IP). With a dedicated 2,000-square-foot LIP laboratory space, we can run up to 50 individual SKUs per week.

LIP testing is conducted on 10 layers of filter paper with 40 replicates (cigarettes) per SKU. An evaluation of “PASS” indicates the samples meet a performance standard where no more than 25% of the cigarettes tested exhibit full-length burns. A certificate of analysis is provided for all samples rated as a “PASS” suitable for direct submission to national and state authorities.

A2LA accredits all testing and meets or exceeds the requirements of ASTM Method E2187-09, “Standard Test Method for Measuring the Ignition Strength of Cigarettes” and ISO Standard 12863 “Standard Test Method for Assessing the Ignition Propensity of Cigarettes.”

Enlist McKinney for Your FSC Requirements

McKinney Specialty Labs plays a crucial role in ensuring FSC compliance. We offer a range of test methods for collecting and analyzing harmful and potentially harmful constituents (HPHCs) in mainstream smoke, sidestream smoke, and tobacco filler. These services include the analysis of tar, nicotine, carbon monoxide, the list of Hoffmann analytes, and more.

Our cigarette testing methods encompass various smoking regimes, including ISO and Health Canada Intense (CI/CINT) smoking regimes. McKinney also provides supporting services such as in vitro toxicology, ignition propensity (LIP/IP) for Fire Safe Cigarette (FSC) testing, filter efficiency, and testing for physical parameters.

McKinney Specialty Labs ensures that combustible smoke and cigarette filler testing align with the requirements of Health Canada and FDA (USA) regulations. This includes tests for substantial equivalence, FDA deficiencies, and more.

In summary, the introduction of FSC cigarettes represents a significant step toward reducing fire hazards associated with smoking. These innovative safety measures, combined with stringent testing and compliance standards, contribute to a safer smoking experience for consumers.

McKinney Specialty Labs can help you navigate the various state regulations and keep your products on the market, and most importantly, fire-safe compliant. For more information on our lab testing services, please contact us here.

Additional Resources

McKinney Specialty Labs: Cigarettes