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Reduced Ignition Propensity Cigarettes – Facts, Fiction and Manipulations
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Reduced Ignition Propensity Cigarettes – Facts, Fiction and Manipulations


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Speaking at the International Conference on Prevention of Tobacco Induced Diseases at Little Rock, Arkansas (USA), Hemant Goswami, a leading public health and social activist from India, asked the …

Speaking at the International Conference on Prevention of Tobacco Induced Diseases at Little Rock, Arkansas (USA), Hemant Goswami, a leading public health and social activist from India, asked the global scientific community to be more vigilant and alert before embracing the concepts like “Fire Safe Cigarettes.” Speaking on the subject of “Reduced Ignition Propensity Cigarettes – Facts, Fiction and Manipulations” Goswami made his case by analyzing the tobacco industry videos and document to point towards a clear strategic push by a big tobacco multinational which ultimately managed to influence and convince one of the US states to adopt the concept of fire-safe cigarettes. Quoting the adoption of fire-safe standards by New York as an example, the notion has now caught up in many other States and countries.

“We must do independent primary research before accepting and adopting concepts like fire-safe cigarettes, (also called Reduced Ignition Propensity Cigarettes [RIP]) which are claimed to be less likely to ignite indoor structural fires if left unattended. Such concepts have been only tested from the fire-safety point of view and no independent study has still been undertaken by the scientific or public health community to assess the effect of the engineered modifications in RIP cigarettes. The scientific community must do independent primary study to get a clear idea about things like, the effect on Nicotine delivery due to change in mass burn rate, paper porosity, chemical coatings, banding pattern manipulation on RIP; the increased toxicity levels in RIP; puff-to-puff count and changes in actual human puffing and inhalation of RIP so as to assess it’s effect on current smokers and know about any increase in addictiveness and other changes,” Hemant emphasised.

Elaborating further on the issue, Hemant said, “The scientific community and the legislatives were highly vulnerable to the manipulation and rigging by the tobacco industry. This was evident from the tobacco industry bates document which shows that Phillip Morris had undertaken secret studies code named as “Project Tomorrow,” “Project Hamlet,” “Project Delta,” etc. with an intention to develop a patented cigarette paper technology so that it could give it’s business the cutting edge and reduce the competition in the market. The company actually succeeded in its objective by developing such a patented cigarette paper and also managed to manipulate and strategically push it through the scientific and public health community in the name of “Reduced Ignition Propensity” cigarettes. The patented paper and the testing method developed by Phillip Morris (On which ASTM standard E2187-02b have been modelled) have been adopted in its totality on the pretext of fire-safe cigarettes. Such tactic has already increased the market share of the big tobacco in the New York by eliminating the smaller and unorganised tobacco industry players.”

There has been a dangerous cross-over as now many health departments across the globe are adopting RIP as fire-safe cigarette standards, unconcerned and unmindful of the fact that the initial concept of RIP was tested by the NY fire-safety department and the modification were also approved by the fire-safety department and not the health department. This crossing over of the concept from the fire safety departments to public health department is the biggest slip and manipulation ever in tobacco control.

The analysis of the structural fire related fatalities in NY also show that there has been no reduction in the fire-related deaths as was initially claimed. Moreover, contrary to popular belief, RIP cigarettes actually offer no protection from the California like forest fires.

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  • 1. Assessing Reduced Ignition Propensity (RIP) Cigarettes – Facts, Fiction and Manipulations by Hemant Goswami Hemant Goswami – ISPTID 2007 – Little Rock, USA
  • 2. Reduced Ignition Propensity (Fire Safe) Cigarettes Background Since about last twenty years the concept of developing fire safe cigarettes has been highlighted from time to time. Such cigarettes have recently been introduced in the market and have been labelled as Reduced Ignition Propensity Cigarettes (RIP). Many governments across the world are going ahead with legislations to make RIP cigarettes mandatory. It has been claimed that such cigarettes will reduce cigarette caused fire by as much as 68 percent. Context In 2003 New York made RIP cigarettes mandatory through legislation. The following year five other states signed similar legislation. In 2005, Health Canada also announced “Cigarette Ignition Propensity Regulations”. Hemant Goswami – ISPTID 2007 – Little Rock, USA
  • 3. What is RIP?? It is claimed that Reduced Ignition Propensity (RIP) (also referred as fire-safe) cigarette has a reduced propensity to burn when left unattended. It is further claimed that the most common fire- safe technology used by cigarette manufacturers is to wrap cigarettes with two or three thin bands of less-porous paper that act as “speed bumps” to slow down a burning cigarette. If a fire-safe cigarette is left unattended, the burning tobacco will reach one of these speed bumps and self-extinguish. It is emphasised that RIP/Fire-safe cigarettes meet an established cigarette fire safety performance standard (based on ASTM E2187, Standard Test Method for Measuring the Ignition Strength of Cigarettes). Hemant Goswami – ISPTID 2007 – Little Rock, USA
  • 4. What is Claimed? 1. RIP will save 900 lives per annum in the USA lost to structural fires 2. RIP will reduce the fires by two third of the present rate 3. It’s will make smoking and cigarettes more safe in terms of the ignitibility 4. The name “Fire- Safe” is being associated with RIP 5. It has been claimed that these cigarettes have gone through stringent testing 6. Further claimed that RIP is already saving lives in New York, where it was introduced in 2003 But reliable, verifiable and authentic reference to all these claims is missing… not a single independent and primary reference is available. Hemant Goswami – ISPTID 2007 – Little Rock, USA
  • 5. Testing Method - ASTM standard E2187-02b 6. Observe the burning cigarette. The smoke plume near the cigarette must remain Procedure : Testing of cigarettes was conducted in accordance with the ASTM standard undisturbed. If it does not, the chamber and exhaust system shall be re- E2187-02b quot;Standard Test Method for Measuring the Ignition Strength of checked. If the chamber and exhaust system are behaving properly, but the Cigarettesquot;. The test steps are provided below: particular test cigarettes continue to produce disturbed smoke plumes, this 1. Turn on the exhaust system designated for removal of test combustion products 30 min prior to observation shall be noted on the test sheet. beginning testing. 2. Ensure that the filter paper holder is in the test chamber at the geometric center of its bottom. Cover the chimney on the test chamber. 7. Record the following results: 3. Conduct the test using 10 layers of filter paper. 7.1 Any of the tobacco column burns to or past the front plane of the tipping paper 3.1 Immediately before testing, place the proper number of filter papers on the filter paper holder and place the metal test rim on top. Discard filter papers that will not lay flat. (filter tip cigarettes) or past the tips of the metal pins for non-filter tip cigarettes; 3.2 Place the cigarette holder on the floor of the chamber, just forward of the center of the filter or paper holder. 7.2 The burning ceases before reaching the front plane of the tipping paper (filter tip 4 Without delay, remove a cigarette from the conditioned space. Insert the unmarked end of the cigarette into the cigarette ignition system and hold it in a horizontal position. Turn on the cigarettes) or the tips of the metal pins for non-filter tip cigarettes. air draw. Hold the ignition flame just in front of the marked end of the cigarette for as long 7.3 The observations stated in 10.5.3 and 10.6. as is necessary to achieve uniform ignition without passing the 5 mm mark. During the ignition process, the cigarette shall be rotated as needed to obtain an approximately symmetrical burn. Note: If the operator is performing concurrent determinations in multiple 8. Ensure that neither the cigarette nor the filter papers are burning. test chambers, the operator shall not light a third cigarette until each of the first two cigarettes has been placed on its respective set of filter papers. No more than two cigarettes shall be in the pre-burn stage at any time. 9. Open the test chamber door to allow air to circulate throughout its volume. After the 5 Holding the cigarette vertically, coal end up and under a 600 ml beaker, transport the cigarette chamber has cleared, prepare for the next determination. to the test chamber. 5.1 Place the lit cigarette, in a horizontal position with the cigarette paper seam up, in the cigarette holder. 10. Repeat the determination with each cigarette 40 times per test. Calculate the 5.2 Simultaneously close the door and remove the chimney cover. fraction of determinations in which the cigarettes burned their full length. This 5.3 If the cigarette self-extinguishes while in the cigarette holder, terminate the determination and record the results as a self-extinguishment, noting that this occurred in the holder. fraction is the test result. This attempt shall count as a valid determination. The test operator shall be permitted to re-use this set of sheets of filter paper. However, if the room is not at the standard conditioning temperature and humidity, the paper shall be reconditioned in the humidity chamber. 5.4 When the cigarette has burned to the 15 mm mark, simultaneously cover the chimney and open the chamber door, gently remove the cigarette from the holder, and move the holder to the front corner of the test chamber. 5.5 Gently lay the cigarette with the ash still attached onto the top of the filter papers so that the nonignited end is placed between the appropriately sized cigarette anti-roll parallel metal pins. The cigarette paper seam shall be turned up. Do not drop the cigarette onto the filter papers and do not press the coal into the papers. If the ash falls off during any part of the transport or positioning process, terminate the determination and begin again; do not count the attempt. 5.6 Without delay, simultaneously remove the chimney cover and gently close the door. Hemant Goswami – ISPTID 2007 – Little Rock, USA
  • 6. How the standards were developed? The Technical Study Group which ran from 1984 to 1987 and then a Technical Advisory Group which ran from 1990 to 1993, (the 20 years long study; referred by some) was dominated (and studies done in association) by the tobacco industry. All the golden standards were pushed by the industry; especially Phillips Morris It complimented the research done by their R & D Departments The final testing methodology was devised by Phillips Morris which was also used by “National Institute of Promotional Video by Phillip Morris Standards and technology” and later adopted by “American Society for Testing of Materials” which was (About Paper Select) later known as ASTM standard E2187-02b quot;Standard Test Method.” Hemant Goswami – ISPTID 2007 – Little Rock, USA
  • 7. How safe is fire-safe October 2007: California Forest Fire Rip has been tested only in controlled conditions. In perfect lab RIP is not useful to conditions which does not take into account the real life environment; prevent real world so it is claimed that RIP might be effective in preventing only STRUCTURAL FIRES. outdoor fires Even PM’s document point out that out of the 500 fabrics tested, the results were negative in 150. So these 150 were excluded. Wind conditions, Moisture, Slant, Direction, Height of fall, ignitability between bands, etc. nothing was taken into consideration. Many important parameters were sacrificed for getting consistent test results. Statistics from NY do not support the safety claims and logic of RIP. There were less civilian fatalities in 2004 than 2005 and 2006. Press Interview by Phillip Morris Spokesperson Hemant Goswami – ISPTID 2007 – Little Rock, USA
  • 8. Tracking the recent events In 2003 New York Fire Safety Department adopted the RIP parameters and passed a law on “Reduced Ignition Propensity” cigarettes (There was no consultation with the health department and/or and research/study done by the scientific community to assess any changes due to mechanical modification of the cigarettes) The testing parameter/methodology was actually devised by Phillip Morris Subsequently 20 US states also moved ahead with legislation. The New York law is taken as the reference. Canada also enacted a law on Fire safe Cigarettes. The New York law is taken as the reference. The position paper liberally quotes from Phillip Morris and R J Reynolds research. Australia and UK are in the final phases. The New York example is taken as the reference. BAT oppose the move but PM stays neutral and raises only token protest. Hemant Goswami – ISPTID 2007 – Little Rock, USA
  • 9. The dangerous CROSS OVER The New York “Reduced Ignition Propensity” cigarettes were developed by the New York Fire Safety Department in association with ASTM and tested only the ignitability of cigarettes. No health effects were ever considered. There was no consultation with the health department and/or and research/study done by the scientific community to assess any changes due to mechanical modification of the cigarettes. It was not at all a public health issue but rather a question of fire safety. There has been no scientific assessment/research on the health effects of RIP on current smokers. There has been no scientific and/or behavioural study to assess the possible effect of more frequent and deeper puffing and inhalations. However when the RIP concept crossed geographical borders It was adopted by the HEALTH DEPARTMENTS & TOBACCO CONTROL BODIES without any independent assessment and without realising that there has been no study by the health department in the New York case and a detailed analysis of effect of changed design on “Nicotine Delivery” has never been studied at all. It has been done by CANADA, where Health Canada came out with a detailed position (research) paper, based on secondary data and even made a law. Australia and UK are on the path to adopt RIP on the same secondary (industry) data. It’s a dangerous cross over…………..missed by the scientific community Hemant Goswami – ISPTID 2007 – Little Rock, USA
  • 10. The tobacco industry interest Document dated: March 25, 1988 Phillip Morris Strategic plan 1989 Hemant Goswami – ISPTID 2007 – Little Rock, USA
  • 11. The tobacco industry interest Phillip Morris Strategic plan 1989 Hemant Goswami – ISPTID 2007 – Little Rock, USA
  • 12. Tracking the industry documents Phillip Morris Strategic plan 1989 (Bate 2021556680) Hemant Goswami – ISPTID 2007 – Little Rock, USA
  • 13. The tobacco industry interest Project Tomorrow is a major R&D program designed to address ignition propensity. Congress has mandated that the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) develop a test that will be used to make decisions regarding the feasibility of the design of cigarettes with low ignition propensity. PM U.S.A. must design a test to verify that the decisions made are not based on flawed information. Project Tomorrow includes 1) the development of such a test, 2) computer modelling of a smoldering cigarette in contact with a flammable substrate, 3) the development of banded cigarette papers and 4) low mass burn rate cigarettes as potential means of reduction of ignition propensity while maintaining consumer subjective acceptability. [Page 68-69 of Phillip Morris U.S.A. Confidential Strategic Plan 1993-1997 --- Bates: 2021523004-5] Hemant Goswami – ISPTID 2007 – Little Rock, USA
  • 14. The tobacco industry intentions Hemant Goswami – ISPTID 2007 – Little Rock, USA
  • 15. The tobacco industry intentions Hemant Goswami – ISPTID 2007 – Little Rock, USA
  • 16. The tobacco industry studies Hemant Goswami – ISPTID 2007 – Little Rock, USA
  • 17. Strategy Changed The industry tone changed after 1994 after many papers were patented. It was a new strategy….. Hemant Goswami – ISPTID 2007 – Little Rock, USA
  • 18. Who owns the patent to the paper used in RIP cigarettes? This answer also hold the key to understand the careful ploy by the powerful Industry sharks. Philip Morris (PM) and Schweitzer-Mauduit International holds the joint EXCLUSIVE patent of the RIP paper. So is this also a patent war? It's also a question of grabbing the largest market share and controlling the smaller players… and much more. Who gets direct commercial benefit with the new regulation? The position paper by BAT (Australia) clearly opposes RIP. In the position paper, BAT also make logical arguments about the effectiveness of RIP. Notably PM is absent from most of these meetings. What options does BAT have, if the patent to the RIP paper is with PM and the government is bent upon patronizing the same PM paper? The reasoning of BAT in the light that the new standards fixed by NY (Which are likely to be copied) endorsing PM’s patented paper technology (The banded paper) is clearly to protect its own commercial interest. Hemant Goswami – ISPTID 2007 – Little Rock, USA
  • 19. What we missed????? Because of the involvement of Fire safety issues and by finding application of ASTM standards to set combustibility of cigarettes; a serious study and research on the possible behavioral changes and/or increased harmful consequences of increased frequency and deeper puffing of RIP was bypassed. Such committee on combustion has been called an “Expert Group” and thereby managed to divert the attention of the public health department and community from other possible consequences. Subsequently all other States and Countries are following the New York example; which in itself had ignored all other aspects; except for the combustibility of the cigarettes. New York standards are being lifted from state-to-state and country-to-country without independent application of mind. The Canadian Cigarette Ignition Propensity regulations have been brought by the Canadian Health Department by referring to the NY study. Health Canada adopted RIP despite the fact that NY study was done by fire-safety department and not the Health Department. Surprisingly the Canadian regulation read that “……..The Department of Health therefore believes it is in the interest of public health to take action to reduce the ignition propensity of cigarettes……….” This is a major slip. The 2005 Health Canada Regulation (Cigarette Ignition Propensity Regulations) even specifically (in a way) promotes Phillip Morris and states “QUOTE” In July 2000, a major American cigarette manufacturer released a reduced-ignition propensity version of one of its cigarette brands in the United States. In April 2001, it released a reduced ignition propensity version of the same brand in New Zealand. This product is made with a patented paper which has concentric bands of ultra-thin paper applied on top of traditional cigarette paper. The manufacturer claims that quot;These bands or rings act as 'speed bumps' to slow down the rate at which the cigarette burns as the lit end crosses over themquot;. When tested by the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology, these cigarettes were found to have a significantly reduced-ignition potential. “UNQUOTE” Hemant Goswami – ISPTID 2007 – Little Rock, USA
  • 20. The unanswered questions? How does the Mass Burn Rate (MBR) affect the Nicotine delivery of RIP cigarettes? How does the porosity of the paper affect the puffing and other chemical constituents of RIP cigarettes? Does RIP results in increased and deeper puffing? Does such increased and deeper puffing/inhalation have any added adverse effect on the present smokers? How does the banding in paper affect the Nicotine delivery? Does RIP increase the overall “Nicotine Yield?” Does the material used in banding of RIP affect the chemical delivery? Does RIP increases the toxicity of cigarettes? What are the commercial gains for the industry which patents the paper for this kind of cigarettes? Does such patenting remove the smaller players from the market and increase the brand share of the existing big players? Hemant Goswami – ISPTID 2007 – Little Rock, USA
  • 21. Understanding the deeper science It is evident that MBR affects the Nicotine Delivery and helps the tobacco industry to engineer its products. The change in design actually results in a better and more addictive product. Camouflaging it in the form of RIP gives it a legal sanction and reduces opposition. It has been researched that “increasing trend was observed in all major market categories (mentholated vs non-mentholated, and full flavour vs light, medium (mild) or ultralight). Nicotine yield in smoke was positively associated with nicotine concentration in the tobacco and number of puffs per cigarette, both of which showed increasing trends between 1998 and 2005, i.e. during the study period. ” Design modifications used to increase the addictiveness of cigarette can include techniques like varying the quot;filter and paper ventilation,“ “paper porosity,” “Paper Coating” and slowing the quot;burn rate,quot; which allows more puffs per cigarette. Hemant Goswami – ISPTID 2007 – Little Rock, USA
  • 22. What is the real issue Longevity of the industry A brand and patent war Having a greater control over the market Eliminating smaller players and increasing the market share Anticipating future trends and taking proactive action Using the knee-jerk reaction of tobacco-control and public-health community to gain strategic advantage Bypassing Health Department and science Use of strategic games….which the public health and tobacco control community does not understand even as on date Hemant Goswami – ISPTID 2007 – Little Rock, USA
  • 23. A fraud on Public Health This strategic bypassing of proper testing and still managing to slip along with a tacit consent of the public health community is the biggest fraud on science during the last two decades. This also shows that how vulnerable the scientific community can be to a well planned strategic approach of the tobacco industry. It’s FOOD for THOUGHT Hemant Goswami – ISPTID 2007 – Little Rock, USA
  • 24. Let’s understand There is more fire in this smoke Hemant Goswami Hemant Goswami – ISPTID 2007 – Little Rock, USA