The Oklahoma House of Representatives has passed House Bill 3341, by state Rep. Mike Thompson and state Sen. Don Barrington, legislation designed to help reduce the number of fires caused by cigarettes.
The Fire Safety Standard and Firefighter Protection Act would require retailers to sell only “fire safe” cigarettes, meaning no cigarettes could be sold in Oklahoma unless they have been tested and certified by the manufacturer and are in compliance with the State Fire Marshal’s approved standards for being a fire safe cigarette.
“This is an effort to save lives and prevent injuries from cigarette-ignited fires,” said Thompson, R-Oklahoma City, said in a House news release announcing the bill’s passage. “According to TobaccoFreeKids.org, cigarettes cause about 1 out of 4 fires and almost every day, someone in America dies from a fire caused by a cigarette — and many of these deaths are toddlers, infants or the elderly.”
One of the bill’s sponsors, Sen. Barrington, R-Lawton, worked in the fire services industry for 32 years, serving as the Lawton fire chief for six of those years.
Under the bill, manufacturers would be required to maintain copies of reports on all tests on cigarettes offered for sale for a period of three years and copies would be made available to the State Fire Marshall and Attorney General upon written request. Failure of a manufacturer to provide copies within 60 days of a written request would be subject to a civil penalty of up to $10,000 per day the copies are not made available.
A manufacturer or anyone who sells cigarettes in violation the law would be subject to a penalty of up to $500 for each pack sold; however, the penalty could not exceed $100,000 during any 30-day period.
A retailer who sells cigarettes in violation of the proposed law would be subject to a penalty of up to $500 for each pack sold with a maximum penalty of $25,000 during any 30-day period.
Currently, 22 other states have already passed fire safe cigarette legislation.
House Bill 3341 has passed the Oklahoma House of Representatives on a 97-0 vote and now proceeds to the state Senate.
Source: Oklahoma House of Representatives, www.lsb.state.ok.us/
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