Cigarettes that go out if no one is puffing on them become mandatory in Iowa stores with the start of the new year, but fire officials say the new cigarettes are not 100% safe. West Des Moines Fire Marshal, Mike Whitsel, says careful handling of cigarettes is still necessary — as people often don’t put used cigarettes in a proper container.
Whitsel says a prime example is an old coffee can with some sand, or nothing in it at all. "And we have seen instances where those cans get completely filled with cigarettes, they may store ’em outside because they don’t want to smoke inside, you get a breezy day and all of a sudden one of those cigarettes is still smoldering, falls out, and now you have the potential for fire, and some fires have started," Whitsel says. He says be sure the cigarette is put out properly.
He says if you are smoking at work or home, you need to be sure you are putting your cigarette out in an approved container so you stay safe. Whitsel says some seemingly safe containers have turned out to be a problem when burning cigarettes are put in them. Whitsel says they have had a couple of fires caused by people putting cigarettes out in flower pots outside a building. he says there were roots left in the flower pot and the cigarette started those roots on fire.
Whitsel says the new "fire safe’ cigarettes will help the problem, but he says you still have to be certain you put out the cigarettes in a proper many to prevent any trouble. The new cigarettes feature the letters "F-S-C" along the barcode of the cigarette package.