Smokers do a slow burn with fire-safe cigarettes

Jonathan Russell's trusty Marlboro Lights were letting him down. They didn't taste quite right. There was a metallic flavor.

The smokes made his throat itchy, too.

"It tasted like a cheaper brand, like a generic brand," the 29-year-old IT specialist said. "Everything's different about it. It's bad."

A convenience store clerk who had been hearing similar complaints let Russell in on what was happening:

Russell was smoking fire-safe cigarettes.

New to the Kansas City area, and spreading rapidly nationwide, these cigarettes are engineered to put themselves out in most cases when a smoker isn't actively puffing on them.

The goal is to prevent the conflagrations that claim hundreds of lives each year when careless smokers let unattended cigarettes drop onto a bed or couch.

Fire safety and consumer advocates fought the tobacco industry for decades to get fire-safe cigarette legislation before Big Tobacco finally relented.

Read the complete story