- Cigarettes Cause Nearly 25%
of All Fires in the United States
- In a potential new front in the tobacco wars, the city of Philadelphia is considering a
multimillion-dollar lawsuit against
tobacco companies to recover the costs of fighting fires caused
"We're looking at the fire department, this
huge part of our budget, being expended because cigarette
companies won't make safer products," said lawyer Stephen
Sheller, hired by Philadelphia's mayor to study the feasibility of
Cigarettes cause 23% of the city of Philadelphia's fires and approximately
25% of all fires in the US. Cigarettes are the single leading cause of fires in the nation.
Internal tobacco industry documents show that
tobacco companies deliberately put chemicals in cigarettes that allow
them to burn without constant puffing. The result is a more ignitable
Richard Daynard, who heads the Tobacco Products Liability Project at Northeastern
University School of Law, says juries could be sympathetic toward plaintiffs who are
injured or killed due to a fire caused by someone who fell asleep with a lighted
A decision about filing a lawsuit, which would also seek to
recover costs for smoking-related illnesses, will likely come within a
Special thanks to CCAA member Laura Robey for submitting this article.
- USA TODAY, (3/18/99) "Lawyers Eye Suits Over Cigarettes'
Role In Fires", Wendy Koch, p. A1
1999 -- All Rights Reserved|