Where there's smoke there needn't be fireA problem worthy of a government solution. Just what the Times looks for.
Virginia should require slightly safer cigarettes.
Nearly half of the states ... have created fire-safety standards for cigarettes. Meeting the standards usually requires manufacturers to use paper that self-extinguishes when someone discards a burning cigarette. It doesn't prevent every fire, but it reduces their number.
In 2006, unattended smoking material ignited more than 150 residential fires in Virginia. Four people died; more than a dozen were injured. Damage totaled more than $4 million.
A few bills introduced in the General Assembly would adopt safety standards for the commonwealth similar to those in other states. They have bipartisan support and even the backing of large cigarette manufacturers. Indeed, some of the big tobacco companies already are transitioning to the safer products. They seek a level playing field and consistency from state to state.
Virginia should give that to them and make accidental fires less likely. (link)
But wait. If these geniuses were serious about saving lives - yes, you can consider me dubious - what about this very next paragraph?
Not that this change would have more than a trivial effect on smoking-related deaths. Tobacco companies don't want their customers to burn to death, but they are content killing off Americans at a rate in excess of 400,000 smokers per year.400,000 people (or 400,004 if we include those described above who died as a result of "unattended smoking material igniting" here in Virginia) are going to croak and we're worried about cigarette wrappers? Hell, more people die from heart attacks during bowel movements each year.
Worry about the precarious future of our way of life! Civilization is threatened! We're dying like flies out here by the hundreds of thousands and you're majoring in the minors! Get your heads out of your a***es.
Sheesh. I need a cigarette.