Whatman™ Grade 2 IS Paper for Cigarette Ignition Testing

The United States, EU countries, Canada, Australia, and several other countries* have mandated that only reduced ignition strength (also known as reduced ignition propensity) cigarettes be sold in these countries. Such cigarettes are commonly called “fire safe cigarettes”. The impetus for this legislation was the number of fatalities caused by smoking-related fires. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, “Every year almost 1000 smokers and nonsmokers are killed in home fires caused by cigarettes and other smoking materials.”

Reduced ignition propensity cigarettes are designed to self-extinguish if the smoker is not actively smoking the cigarette, which reduces the likelihood that a cigarette will initiate a fire. Cigarettes can be made to self-extinguish in different ways. The technology that is most widely used is to include cellulosic bands at given distances along the length of the cigarette (sometimes referred to as “speed bumps”). When the cigarette burns down to one of the bands, it will self-extinguish unless the smoker is actively drawing on the cigarette.

In 2004, New York passed the first state law requiring the introduction of fire-safe cigarettes. Since then all 50 US states have implemented similar regulations. In 2005, Canada became the first country to implement a nationwide cigarette fire safety standard. The European Union (EU) introduced similar standards, which became effective in 2011. US, Canadian, and Australian laws are based on ASTM E2187 (Standard Test Method for Measuring the Ignition Strength of Cigarettes); EU legislation is based on ISO 12863. The ASTM and ISO test methods are very similar, and it is easy for a test laboratory to follow either method.

Cigarette manufacturers are required to test and certify each brand (or sub-brand) as meeting the requirements stated in the legislation. Recertification is typically required every three years; however, the exact time period depends on the laws passed in each state or country.

ASTM E2187 and ISO 12863 are designed to test the likelihood of a cigarette to set upholstery or bedding on fire. In both test methods Grade 2 IS paper acts as a heat sink; the paper is not set alight during the test. Inter- and intra- batch consistency of the paper is critical to ensure the repeatability of the test.

Manufacturing of each lot of Whatman™ Grade 2 IS paper from GE Healthcare Life Sciences is strictly controlled, and each lot is tested and certified as meeting the requirements of ASTM E2187. However, Grade 2 IS paper can also be adopted for testing according to ISO 12863.


Whatman™ Grade 2 IS paper features

  • 100% cotton linter, ash content < 0.1%
  • Good inter- and intra- lot consistency
  • Each lot is tested and certified according to ASTM E2187
  • A certificate is provided in the product package

* Countries that have passed Fire Safe cigarette legislation include the United States of America (all states), Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, the European Union (all member states), Switzerland, and Croatia (this list was accurate at the time of publication. However, the list is expected to grow as other countries introduce similar legislation).


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