Global cigarette and tobacco company Philip Morris has agreed to donate $300,000 to the NSW Rural Fire Service for supplying cigarettes that do not meet the mandatory Reduced Fire Risk safety standard.
The company self-reported its supply of non-compliant cigarettes to the ACCC and initiated a voluntary recall on 17 October 2015 after its test results confirmed the cigarettes did not comply with the Reduced Fire Risk Standard.
According to the ACCC, Between 1 September 2015 and 14 October 2015, Philip Morris supplied 306,000 Choice Signature Bold and Choice Signature Classic cigarette packets that didn’t meet fire safety standards.
The consumer watchdog also discovered that another cigarette company, Zen Sensation, has been supplying unsafe cigarettes.
Subsequent testing of batches of TS Blue and TS Gold cigarettes supplied by Zen showed that while some batches complied with the standard, others did not.
Zen also commenced a voluntary recall of these cigarettes following contact from the ACCC.
ACCC Chairman Rod Sims stressed that supplying products that do not comply with a mandatory safety standard is an offence under the Australian Consumer Law, adding that the ACCC will act swiftly to prevent harm to consumers.
“Cigarettes sold in Australia must meet the mandatory safety standard to self-extinguish when left unattended. Before the Reduced Fire Risk Standard was adopted, discarded cigarettes and related products started over 4,500 fires and killed an average of 14 people each year,” Mr Sims said.
“In the bushfire-prone Australian environment, and with the significant risk of injury and damage from fires, all manufacturers and importers of cigarettes must have stringent internal controls in place to ensure that their products comply with the Reduced Fire Risk Standard.”