PA 07-180—sSB 703

Public Safety and Security Committee

Judiciary Committee

Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee

AN ACT CONCERNING FIRE SAFE CIGARETTES

SUMMARY: Beginning July 1, 2008, this act, with minor exceptions, requires cigarettes sold or offered for sale to consumers in Connecticut by cigarette manufacturers to be fire-safe. Fire-safe cigarettes have the same characteristics as conventional cigarettes but are designed to be self-extinguishing (i. e. , they stop burning when left unattended).

The act:

1. requires cigarette manufacturers to (a) certify to the State Fire Marshal's Office that any cigarette they sell in Connecticut is tested in accordance with the act and meets a minimum fire-safe performance standard and (b) pay a $250 fee for each brand family listed in the certification;

2. allows the revenue services commissioner to revoke or suspend the license of manufacturers who sell cigarettes that are not fire-safe, certified, or marked in accordance with the act;

3. allows the attorney general to bring a civil action to recover up to $10,000 for certain manufacturer violations;

4. requires the State Fire Marshal's Office to administer the fire-safe cigarette program and dedicates certification fees and civil fines to the office to fund its processing, testing, and administrative activities; and

5. allows the state fire marshal to adopt implementing regulations consistent with the New York fire safety standards.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2008

CIGARETTE SALES

Beginning July 1, 2008, the act prohibits cigarette manufacturers from selling or offering to sell any cigarette in Connecticut, either directly or through a distributor, dealer, or similar intermediary, unless the manufacturers:

1. test the cigarette as described below and it meets the act's minimum performance standard;

2. file a written certification with the State Fire Marshal's Office listing the cigarette; and

3. mark the cigarette package with the letters FSC, signifying that the cigarettes are “fire standards compliant.

The act allows the revenue services commissioner to suspend or revoke cigarette manufacturers' licenses for violations of the above provisions, according to existing procedures for suspending or revoking cigarette dealer and distributor licenses.

The act allows licensed manufacturers and distributors to sell or distribute non-fire-safe and non-certified cigarettes if they are or will be stamped for sale in another state or are packaged for sale outside of the United States.

TESTING STANDARD FOR FIRE-SAFE CIGARETTES

Any testing by or on behalf of a manufacturer or the State Fire Marshal's Office to determine cigarette performance compliance must be conducted in accordance with the following requirements.

1. Testing must be conducted according to the American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM) standard E2187-04, “Standard Test Method for Measuring the Ignition Strength of Cigarettes,” or any subsequent ASTM standard test for measuring cigarette ignition strength that the state fire marshal finds does not change the percentage of full-length burns resulting from the ASTM E2187-04 test and the performance standard listed in number 3 below.

2. Testing must be conducted on 10 layers of filter paper.

3. No more than 25% of cigarettes in any test trial must show full-length burns, and 40 replicate tests must comprise a complete test for each cigarette tested.

4. The act's performance standard must be applied only to a complete test trial.

5. Written certifications must be based on testing conducted by a laboratory accredited under standard ISO or IEC 17025 of the International Organization for Standardization or other comparable accreditation standard the State Fire Marshal's Office may require in regulation.

6. Testing laboratories must implement a quality control and quality assurance program that includes a procedure to determine the repeatability of testing results (i. e. , the range of values within which test results from a single laboratory will fall 95% of the time). The repeatability value cannot exceed 0. 19 for any test certification trial. The program ensures that the testing repeatability remains within the required range for all test trials used to certify cigarettes under the act.

7. No additional testing is required if cigarettes are tested in a way that is consistent with the above procedures for another purpose.

Each cigarette that uses lowered permeability bands in the cigarette paper to meet the act's performance standard must have at least two nominally identical bands on the paper surrounding the cigarette column. At least one complete band must be located at least 15 millimeters (0. 6 inches) from the lighting end of the cigarette. For cigarettes on which the bands are positioned by design, at least two bands must be fully located at least 15 millimeters from the lighting end and 10 millimeters from the filter end of the column, or 10 millimeters from the labeled end of the column for nonfiltered cigarettes.

Alternative Testing and Performance Standards

A manufacturer may propose an alternate test method and performance standard for a cigarette if the state fire marshal determines it cannot be tested in accordance with the specified ASTM test for measuring ignition strength. If the state fire marshal determines that the proposed standard will not result in more than 25% of tested cigarettes exhibiting full length burns, the manufacturer may use the test and standard to certify the cigarette (see CERTIFICATION below).

If the state fire marshal determines that another state has enacted reduced cigarette ignition propensity standards (RCIPS) that use the same test and standard as those in the act, and the officials responsible for implementing them have approved the proposed alternative test and standards for a particular cigarette under a legal provision comparable to the act, he or she must authorize the manufacturer to employ the alternative test and standard to certify that cigarette for sale in Connecticut, unless he or she can reasonably show why not. All of the act's other performance and testing requirements apply to the manufacturer.

EXCEPTIONS TO SALE OF FIRE-SAFE CIGARETTES

The act allows wholesale and retail dealers to sell their existing inventory of non-fire-safe cigarettes on or after July 1, 2008 if they can show that (1) state tax stamps were affixed to them before July 1 and (2) they bought the inventory before that date in comparable quantities to inventory bought during the same period the year before. The act also allows manufacturers, with the prior authorization of the revenue services commissioner, to distribute non-fire-safe cigarettes for consumer testing purposes.

“Consumer testing” means an assessment of cigarettes conducted by or under the control of a manufacturer to evaluate consumer acceptance in (1) quantities reasonably necessary for such assessment and (2) a controlled setting where the cigarettes are either consumed on-site or returned to testing administrators when the testing ends.

STATE FIRE MARSHAL'S REVIEW AND REPORT

The state fire marshal must review the effectiveness of implementing the testing standards; report to the Public Safety and Security Committee on the findings; and, if appropriate, recommend legislation to improve the effectiveness of the standards. The first report is due by June 30, 2011; subsequent reports are due every three years.

CERTIFICATION

Every three years, each cigarette manufacturer must submit a written certification to the State Fire Marshal's Office attesting that each cigarette listed in a certification has been tested in accordance with the act and meets its performance standard.

The certification must list the following information for each cigarette listed:

1. brand or trade name on the package;

2. style, such as light or ultra light;

3. length and circumference in millimeters;

4. flavor, if applicable;

5. filter or nonfilter;

6. package description, such as soft package or box;

7. markings;

8. the name, address, and telephone number of the laboratory, if different from the manufacturer, that conducted the test; and

9. the test date.

Any manufacturer that changes a certified cigarette in a way likely to alter its compliance with the act's RCIP standards may not sell or offer to sell it to consumers in Connecticut until after it is retested and meets the act's standard. The manufacturer must maintain the test record.

Certification Fees

The manufacturer must pay the state fire marshal a $250 fee for each cigarette brand family listed. The state fire marshal may adjust the fee annually, in regulations, to ensure that it covers the office's actual costs of processing, testing, enforcement, and oversight activities.

FIRE-SAFE CIGARETTE DIRECTORY

By July 1, 2008, the State Fire Marshal's Office must develop and make available for public inspection on its web site, and in such other forms as the state fire marshal deems appropriate, a Connecticut Fire-Safe Cigarette Directory listing all manufacturers that have provided current certifications and all cigarettes listed in the certifications. The state fire marshal must update the directory, as necessary, correcting errors and adding or removing manufacturers or cigarettes to keep the directory current and in compliance with the act.

The act prohibits the state fire marshal from including or keeping in the directory the cigarette of any manufacturer that has (1) failed to provide the required certifications, (2) failed to provide copies of required reports within the 60-day deadline for providing them, or (3) provided any certifications that the state fire marshal determines are not in compliance with the act, unless the manufacturer corrects the violation to the state fire marshal's satisfaction.

A manufacturer aggrieved by the state fire marshal's determination not to include a cigarette in, or remove one from, the directory has 30 days after the determination to apply to the Hartford Superior Court for appropriate relief.

VIOLATIONS

The state fire marshal may refer manufacturer violations of the certification and related provisions to the attorney general, who may bring a civil action in the Hartford Superior Court to recover up to $10,000 for each violation and such injunctive and equitable relief as the court deems appropriate.

Manufacturers must keep copies of test reports on cigarettes for which they submitted certification and provide copies to the state fire marshal and attorney general, upon written request. Manufacturers who fail to provide the reports within 60 days after receiving a request are subject to a civil penalty of up to $10,000 for each day after the 60th day that they fail to provide the report.

CIGARETTE MARKINGS

The act prohibits manufacturers from selling cigarettes to consumers unless they mark each package with the letters FSC, signifying that the cigarettes are “fire standards compliant. ” The letters must be in eight-point type (like this) and permanently printed, stamped, engraved, or embossed on the package at or near the UPC code, if present.

STAMPED CIGARETTES

The law requires cigarette distributors and dealers to place tax stamps on each individual package of unstamped cigarettes but prohibits them from placing the stamps on packages that do not meet certain requirements (such as bearing the surgeon general's warning labels required by federal law) or are produced by manufacturers that have not met certain requirements. The law prohibits retail sales of unstamped packages. The act also prohibits them from placing tax stamps on cigarettes not included in the Connecticut Fire-Safe Cigarette Directory.

Further, the act eliminates the revenue services commissioner's authority to disclose the names of anyone who violates the law requiring tobacco product manufacturers who sell cigarettes in Connecticut either to (1) enter into, and perform financial obligations under, the master settlement agreement between Connecticut and four leading tobacco companies or (2) pay into a qualified escrow account a specified amount for each cigarette they sell in the state.

REGULATIONS

The act requires the state fire marshal to implement all of the act's provisions, except those pertaining to stamped cigarettes, in accordance with the New York fire safety standards. It allows him to adopt regulations to implement the provisions on testing, certification, and inspections, consistent with the New York fire safety standards.

FIRE ACCOUNT AND PROGRAM FUNDING

The act establishes the fire safety standard and firefighter protection act enforcement account in which certification fees, civil fines collected for violations, and any other money required by law must be deposited. The state fire marshal must use the account proceeds solely to fund the office's processing, testing, and oversight activities pertaining to the fire-safe cigarette testing, certification, and directory creation. The account is a nonlapsing General Fund account.

OLR Tracking: VR: KM: JL: dw