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Quantifying the Ignition Propensity of Cigarettes



Thomas J. Ohlemiller, K M. Villa, E Braun, K Eberhardt, Richard H. Harris Jr., James R. Lawson, Richard G. Gann


Research funded under the Fire Safe Cigarette Act of 1990 (United States Public Law 101-35) has led to the development of two test methods for measuring the ignition propensity of cigarettes. The Mock-Up Ignition Test Method uses substrates physically similar to upholstered furniture and mattresses: a layer of fabric over padding. The measure of cigarette performance is ignition or non-ignition of the substrate. The Cigarette Extinction Test Method replaces the fabric/padding assembly with multiple layers of common filter paper. The measure of performance is full-length burning or self-extinguishment of the cigarette. Routine measurement of the relative ignition propensity of cigarettes is feasible using either of the two methods. Improved cigarette performance under both methods has been linked with reduced real-world ignition behavior; and it is reasonable to assume that this, in turn, implies a significant real-world benefit. Both methods have been subjected to interlaboratory study. The resulting reproducibilities were comparable to each other and comparable to those in other fire test methods currently being used to regulate materials which may be involved in unwanted fires. Using the two methods, some current commercial cigarettes are shown to have reduced ignition propensities relative to the current best-selling cigarettes.
Fire and Materials
No. 4


cigarettes, ignition, test methods, effectiveness, data analysis, self-extinguishment


Ohlemiller, T. , Villa, K. , Braun, E. , Eberhardt, K. , Harris, R. , Lawson, J. and Gann, R. (1995), Quantifying the Ignition Propensity of Cigarettes, Fire and Materials, [online], (Accessed April 21, 2024)
Created July 1, 1995, Updated February 19, 2017