Cigarette Ignition Propensity Regulations – Information Sheet

What is ignition propensity?

Ignition propensity is the ability of a heat source to ignite a substrate. Ignition propensity depends on a number of factors which include the characteristics of the substrate, the heat source, and the zone of contact between the heat source and the substrate.

Why regulate cigarette ignition propensity?

Health Canada is responsible for helping the people of Canada maintain and improve their health, and we have taken a number of steps in the past to prevent fires started by burning cigarettes. Some of these initiatives have been:

  • educating the public about the dangers of smokers' materials
  • establishing fire safety standards for consumer products such as mattresses and bedding
  • regulating ignition sources such as matches and lighters
  • working with the Canadian Council of Furniture Manufacturers to implement voluntary flammability standards for upholstered furniture

Despite these efforts, fires started by smokers' materials continue to exact a significant toll on Canadian society -- approximately 70 deaths and 300 injuries every year according to a study done by the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs.

What do the Regulations require?

The Regulations state that all cigarettes manufactured in or imported into Canada must burn their full length no more than 25% of the time when tested using ASTM International method E2187-04: Standard Test Method for Measuring the Ignition Strength of Cigarettes.

When does the Ignition Propensity Standard come into effect?

On October 1, 2005.

Where can I get a copy of the Standard Test Method?

You can obtain a copy of ASTM's E2187-04: Standard Test Method for Measuring the Ignition Strength of Cigarettes (the filter paper method) by contacting:

ASTM International
100 Barr Harbor Drive
West Conshohocken, PA
19428-2959 USA
Phone: (610) 832-9585
Fax: (610) 832-9555
Web site:

Do the Regulations apply to cigarettes manufactured in Canada for export?

Yes, cigarettes manufactured for export must also comply with the Regulations.

Do the Regulations apply to other tobacco products?

No, the Regulations only apply to manufactured cigarettes. They do not apply to hand-rolled tobacco, tobacco sticks, cigars, bidis or kreteks.

Questions? Contact us!

For more information on the requirements of the Cigarette Ignition Propensity Regulations, contact us through one of our regional Tobacco Control Programme Offices:

  • British Columbia/Yukon Region (Burnaby): (604) 666-2938
  • Alberta/Northwest Territories Region (Edmonton): (780) 495-7356
  • Saskatchewan/Manitoba Region (Regina): (306) 780-3850
  • Ontario/Nunavut Region (Toronto): (416) 954-9825
  • Québec Region (Longueuil): (450) 646-1353
  • Atlantic Region (Halifax): (902) 426-4051

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