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Are fire safe cigarettes actually fire safe? Evidence from changes in US state laws
  1. Carl Bonander1,2,
  2. Niklas Jakobsson3,4,
  3. Finn Nilson1,2
  1. 1 Department of Environmental and Life Sciences, Division of Risk Management, Karlstad University, Karlstad, Sweden
  2. 2 Centre for Public Safety, Karlstad University, Karlstad, Sweden
  3. 3 Norwegian Social Research (NOVA), Oslo, Norway
  4. 4 Karlstad Business School, Karlstad University, Karlstad, Sweden
  1. Correspondence to Dr Carl Bonander, Division of Risk Management, Department of Environmental and Life Sciences, Karlstad University, SE-651 88 Karlstad, Sweden; carl.bonander{at}


Objective To estimate the effects of fire safe cigarette laws on fire mortality and cigarette-related fires in the USA.

Methods We examined the gradual implementation of the laws to identify their average effects, using difference-in-differences analysis to account for common year effects, time-invariant state effects, state-specific trends and observable time-varying state-level covariates.

Results We found no statistically significant effects on all-cause fire mortality, residential fire mortality or cigarette-caused fire rates. The estimates for cigarette-caused fire deaths were significant under some specifications, but were not robust to the inclusion of state-specific trends or comparisons to effects on other cause-determined fires.

Conclusions Given the mixed state of our results, we conclude that previous claims regarding the effects of fire safe cigarette laws may be premature.

  • Reduced ignition propensity
  • Lower ignition propensity
  • Fire safety standard compliant cigarettes
  • Outcome Evaluation
  • Legislation

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  • Contributors All authors participated equally in the planning and design of the study. NJ designed the empirical strategy along with CB, who collected the data and performed the analyses. All authors contributed to drafts of the paper.

  • Funding This study received financial support from the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB) (grant number 2014-5283).

  • Disclaimer The funding source had no role in the design of the study, the analysis and interpretation of the data or the writing of, nor the decision to publish, the manuscript.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Ethics approval We used only publicly available, routinely collected (and aggregated) data from administrative registers. Thus, no patients were directly involved in this study, and ethical approval was therefore not required nor sought.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data sharing statement All data used for this study are publicly available, and the full data set can (and will) be shared upon request from the corresponding author (CB).

  • Correction notice This paper has been amended since it was published Online First. Owing to a scripting error, some of the publisher names in the references were replaced with ’BMJ Publishing Group'. This only affected the full text version, not the PDF. We have since corrected these errors and the correct publishers have been inserted into the references.