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"Fire Safe" Means Not Fire Safe

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                 The “Protect Cigarette Makers From Liabilities Act” 

New York and now Pennsylvania and some other states have laws requiring what are called "Fire Safe Cigarettes".  What could sound more sensible and caring? You’d think that states are finally doing something to protect smokers.  A cynic might suspect that states just want smokers to stay alive longer for the sake of “sin tax” revenues. Good start, but it’s about more than that.
 
This is about questionable Public Health laws and industry-benefiting trickery. It is about just one part of the corporate war on tobacco, our modern age re-enactment of Reefer Madness.  No need to search history for that. It's still here. It is maintaing full prisons, corrupting our health system, disrupting millions of lives, and keeping benign natural plant products out of competition with toxic industrial synthetics.  If Reefer Madness worked so well pushing cannabis out of the picture, why not go for the tobacco plant as well?  Public-domain natural plants simply do not work best for capital growth.
 
“Fire-safe” does not mean that the burn accelerant features of typical cigarettes have been at long last prohibited in spite of many decades of activists pleading with Congress for such a ban.  Despite decades of fires, injuries, deaths, property and forest losses, and public fire-fighting costs, cigarettes may still legally contain citrates, phosphates and calcium carbonate added to make sure the cigarettes don't self-extinguish.
 
To keep the cigarette ember burning, manufacturers are permitted to fluff up the stuffing (be it actual tobacco or otherwise) and to use special porous paper to provide oxygen. Two pioneer anti-smoking states, Florida and California, with their orange groves, may be top suppliers of base materials for some citrates...but that matter did not come up in any of those states’ "smoking" hearings. Florida is a top producer of phosphates...also a source of radiation-contaminated tobacco fertilizers.  Both states are sources of pulp and paper, the chlorine-bleached, dioxin-delivering stuff that, hiding in plain sight, wraps most cigarettes.  Which manufacturers supply cigarette paper?  No one says, and no one asks.  Calcium carbonate seems to come from all over, but no producers have been yet dragged into court to explain their part in creating incendiary devices that have sparked so many fires.   

What "fire safe" means is that there are "speed bumps" in the paper...spaced rings of thickened paper, sometimes visible, sometimes not, where the ember will tend to extinguish unless the smoker goes to the extra effort to puff more intently at intervals to keep the things lit.   Yes, the anti-smoke forces promote more intense puffing.

Most, but not all, cigarettes were and still are made into virtual fuses (re-visit the classic movie “Stalag 17”) so that they'll burn down faster to thereby encourage lighting up again all the sooner.  That is good for sales.  Those incendiary chemicals and techniques were not and still are not banned.  After all, increased cigarette sales maximize regressive "sin" taxes for officials who refuse to properly progressively tax citizens, especially the wealthiest.  If public officials also raked in campaign gifts from the responsible parties, or if officials had personal investments in those industries, so much the better for them.
 
There are no specific warnings that the burn-accelerated products present an excess danger.  All cigarette warnings, no matter what they omit, are certified by law to be "sufficient".  Citrates, phosphates, etc., don’t appear on any ingredients label.  Officials will not indict themselves for ignoring or approving that.  They still exempt cigarettes, unique among consumable products, from labeling requirements.  They are not so tough on “big tobacco” as they pretend.

If the deadly adulterants were publicized, the public outcry and the liability suits would go off the charts.  This also applies to the safety of inhaling those burn-accelerating substances.  No safety tests are conducted or required of them or any of untold numbers of non-tobacco cigarette constituents...and that's alone or in combination.  Animal rights activists would not tolerate such experimentation on Guinea pigs in a million years.  But aren't humans also animals?
 
Smokers, believing and being told they are just smoking tobacco, may constitute the largest population of industrial Guinea pigs on earth...denied right to Informed Consent at every point.  By blaming smokers for resultant health harms and fires and public health costs, officials and compromised health officials push off the table any thought of compensating them for having been deceived, unprotected, secretly-poisoned, or burned.
 
Despite the lack of information or warning, and despite the industrial and government homicidal recklessness and inhumanity embodied in the unnecessary burn accelerants, our mainstream media never fail to describe fires as "smoking related", or caused by "careless smoking", both terms designed to put blame onto victims.  The fires are better called "burn-accelerant-related".  And, those who put the accelerants there were not careless.  They were quite callous and purposeful.  They were and are certifiably psychopathic by their lack of empathy and conscience.  They are un-indicted corporate arsonists. 
   
The blame-the-victim tactic distracts conveniently from the matter of highly-flammable, highly-toxic, household plastics and synthetic fabrics and other materials that contribute significantly to deaths and injuries in fires, be they “smoking related” or not.  A cigarette dropped on petroleum-based material is a cigarette dropped on virtual gasoline…and the toxic fumes from that kill people before there’s even a flame.
 

Reports that many fire deaths and injuries are “synthetic-material-related”, and simultaneously “burn-accelerant-related”, are not found in our corporatized media…including so-called “public” broadcasting.  Investigators fail to look for burn accelerants.  They merely look for evidence of "smoking".  Uunlike bullet shells in other kinds of homicide cases, if a cigarette butt is found, it is not examined.
 
The idea of promoting and even subsidizing natural, far less flammable, non-toxic materials, including hemp, for home and clothing use is not considered.  Toxic synthetic household and clothing materials, incidentally, are produced by pretty much the same industries responsible for tobacco pesticides and chlorine’s dioxin in cigarette smoke. DuPont, for one, makes both tobacco pesticides and synthetic fabrics.  A double whammy.
 
Public officials responsible for not protecting the public (and firefighters) from any of this, who lack the decency to even warn about it, and who now demand "fire safe" cigarettes, are no better than felons who start fires, then rush to the rescue at their volunteer firefighter jobs to heroically fight the flames.  Such miscreants are ordinarily jailed, or put into mental institutions.  But, if they wear suits and wave the banner of  "protect workers" or "protect the children", they get government positions, pensions, lots of media space, and funding from pretend enemies of the cigarette cartel. 
 
Properly-packed plain tobacco, like good cigar and pipe tobacco, tends to self-extinguish when not puffed, rather than burning down the house.  But those who supply plain tobacco are forbidden to advertise that their products are safer no matter how true that is.  First Amendment? ...not here. ACLU?...not here either.  One native American cigarette maker...of "Pure" brand cigarettes...was shut down by the federal government for daring to say, rightly, that his organic cigarettes were safer than the typical pesticide-drenched, additive-packed, dioxin-delivering, and fire-Un-safe cigarettes.   The truth shall shut down your business. 
 
American Spirit's organic and additive-free tobacco products have required-labels that say that "additive-free" (including organic) does not mean safer.  The law compels them to lie.  American Spirit can't complain because, a few years back, it sold itself to RJR, maker of burn-accelerated, pesticide-contaminated, dioxin-delivering cigarettes.
 
This is about liabilities.  If some brands rightly claimed to be safer, that would indict the others as un-safe or excessively un-safe, or criminally un-safe, thus opening up a long-overdue Pandora's box of liability suits.  Those darn lawyers again. The very rapid push for "fire safe" cigarettes is best understood as a race by manufacturers to avoid charges of being fire Un-Safe.  Opening up the issue of unsafe adulterants would also open up currently well-silenced questions about hosts of untested and unsafe and known-toxic and cancer-causing non-tobacco cigarette adulterants.   That liability suit idea would affect the tobacco pesticide industry, pharmaceuticals that supply both pesticides and additives, chlorine, pulp and paper, many agricultural conglomerates, fertilizer suppliers, other ingredient suppliers, and all of their insurers and investors.
 
That would be too much sanity and justice for this country to handle.  Complicit public officials would understandably rather not pursue this direction.  Also, what is called "the economy" (i.e., Wall Street, not individuals) pretty much relies on industries and products that poison and kill people, dependant entirely on their exemption from prosecution and liabilities.  Typical Pesticide Pegs, or Dioxin Dowels, as distinguished significantly from traditionally-used plain tobacco, are just among the most visible dispensers of highly-profitable industrial toxins and carcinogens.   Dioxin, in smoke from typical chlorine-contaminated cigarettes or elsewhere, evades proper and urgent attention.  Dioxin is invisible in the smoke, in our air, in mainstream media, and most worrisome, in our health system…public and private.
 
Officials, primarily those who are responsible for approving, ignoring, failing to warn about, and benefiting from burn-accelerated cigarettes, are hoping to convince us with their "fire safe" legislation that they are champions of public health, not psychopathic perpetrators of mass public endangerment.
 
It may be intended as a side-bonus that "fire safe" cigarettes provide a way for police to identify out-of-state cigarettes that are not "fire safe" in order to nab "smugglers"... otherwise law-abiding people forced to look elsewhere for affordable cigarettes and those without the bothersome "speed bumps".  But that situation evaporates if all states enact "fire safe" regulations.
 
Since "fire safe" products are less enjoyable, officials no doubt hope for the effect of lowering smoking rates in order to protect insurance industry profits and to cut public health spending.  (It’s not for our health.)  The problem of lower "sin tax" revenue is avoided by simply hiking taxes.  One person paying six dollars in taxes rakes in the same as three people paying two bucks each.
 
Despite all the questions and problems and un-addressed issues, this “fire safe” business remains tricky to oppose.   A critic would be said to be pro-fire and pro-death and destruction….perhaps even “anti-firefighter”.  Almost all unjust laws are wrapped in "for our protection", "for public safety" or "for the kids".  It would not work if authorities called this law "The Protect Cigarette Makers From Liabilities Act".
 
One clue to the illegitimacy and trickery of the "fire safe" laws is the "FSC" initials printed on packs of cigarettes with the "fire safe" treatment.  Ask the next thousand people walking by what those initials stand for...knowing about "fire safe cigarette" laws.  Most, if not all, would say that “FSC” stands for "Fire Safe Cigarettes".  

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Wrong.    "FSC" means  "Fire Standard Compliant"...which essentially just means that the "speed bumps" are in the paper.  This "standard" does not require that the burn accelerant components be removed, or guarantee that they are not there.  Conceivably, we have products that are somehow both burn accelerated AND "fire safe" at the same time.  It is inconceivable that the confusing "FSC" lettering was not intentional.
 
Beyond that, "fire safe" does not mean fire-safe.  True.  Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Company, maker of American Spirit cigarettes, made that clear in a mailing.  Philip Morris also says “There is no "fire-safe" cigarette.”  It’s another liability dodge.  If one does manage to burn down their house with an "FSC"-labeled cigarette, industry attorneys need only say that they never claimed the products were fire safe.
     
If people believe the cigarettes are fire-safe because of the incessant wording in the news, because the laws were all pushed on "fire-safe" grounds, and because of mis-translation of the "FSC" initials, well, that's too bad for plaintiffs and other victims..
  
This is, again, a case of epidemic corporate-created ignorance as indicated by no end of computer search hits for info on “FSC” with material about “FSC” assumed to mean “Fire Safe Cigarette”.
 
Those who assume that “FSC” means “fire safe cigarette” probably also assume that a cigarette is automatically tobacco or just tobacco, and that the USA is a constitutional democracy instead of a Corporatocracy.  In such a system, justice, scientific and legislative integrity, and the well-being of living things, people included, is all generally irrelevant except for PR purposes.

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Long time activist in areas relating to industrial toxics, media content and control, death penalty, Mumia Abu-Jamal, hemp prohibition, civil rights, insurance influence in public governing, religious influence in public governing, unsafe foods, (more...)
 

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