SB 1408 Giving California Law Enforcement Ability to Seize Non-Fire Safe Cigarettes Signed by Governor
SACRAMENTO – SB 1408, authored by Dr. Richard Pan and sponsored by California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, which will close a loophole that prevents law enforcement from seizing non-fire cigarettes, was signed into law by the Governor.
“Cigarette smuggling hurts our youth and legitimate businesses, and non-fire safe cigarettes are a particular danger, which is why they have been banned in all 50 states,” said Dr. Richard Pan, pediatrician and state senator representing the Sacramento region. “SB1408 gives law enforcement the means to keep these dangerous cigarettes out of California ports and airports and off our streets.”
The California Cigarette Fire Safety and Firefighter Protection Act (“Fire Safety Act”) of 2005 requires cigarettes to extinguish when not being actively smoked. Before the law was enacted, cigarettes were the leading cause of fire death in the United States each year, claiming over 1,000 lives and causing nearly 2,000 injuries and nearly four hundred million dollars in direct property damages. However, despite the successes of the Fire Safety Act, two loopholes have remained that prevent law enforcement from seizing these unsafe cigarettes.
SB 1408 would define cigarettes that do not meet the fire safety requirements as “contraband per se,” allowing law enforcement to immediately seize these products instead of having to provide for notice and a hearing as is currently the case.
Further, the bill would also eliminate an exception that currently exists in the law, which allowed non-fire safe cigarettes into California just so long as the manufacturer claimed they were intended for sale in another state.
In 2003, U.S. states began requiring that all cigarettes sold must be fire-safe. By 2010, fire-safe cigarette legislation was in effect in 47 states. From 2003 to 2010, the number of civilian deaths in smoking-material fires fell by an average of 21 percent.
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