Bureau of Auditing - Reduced Cigarette Ignition Propensity

It is the intent of the Legislature to promote uniformity among the states in the regulation of reduced cigarette ignition propensity (RCIP).  The State of Florida has adopted the cigarette fire safety standard that is in effect in the State of New York to reduce the likelihood that cigarettes will cause fires and result in deaths, injuries, and property damages in this state.  The Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco is providing information that can assist in determining what fire safe cigarettes are, and what the manufacturer, importer, wholesale dealer, and retail dealer must do to assure that all cigarettes sold in Florida on and after January 1, 2010, meet the fire safety standards required by Chapter 633.042, Florida Statutes.

The law requires that all cigarettes sold in Florida beginning January 1, 2010, be certified and marked as fire safe cigarettes. Each manufacturer must submit a written certification to the Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco attesting that the cigarettes being certified have been tested in accordance with the specified requirements and meet the performance standard. Each cigarette sold must be tested and certified as fire safe compliant. One certification can be submitted for all brands at one time, but each cigarette listed in the certification must describe the cigarette brands in detail.

All cigarettes that have been tested and are certified must be marked by the manufacturer indicating compliance with the Reduced Cigarette Ignition Propensity standards. The markings are 8-point type or larger, and consist of a combination of alphanumeric or symbolic characters permanently stamped, engraved, or embossed upon the cigarette package at or near the universal product code. Each manufacturer will use only one approved marking and must apply this marking uniformly to all brands and all packages marketed in Florida by that manufacturer after January 1, 2010.  Manufacturers must provide a copy of the certifications to all wholesale dealers and agents to which they sell cigarettes. They must also provide copies of the package marking used by the manufacturer to the wholesale dealer to give to each retail dealer to which they sell cigarettes. It is the responsibility of the wholesale dealer and the retail dealer to assure that all cigarettes they purchase and sell do have the appropriate markings to show that the cigarettes have been certified.

Wholesale dealers may continue to sell their existing inventory of cigarettes to retailers on or after January 1, 2010, if they can establish that the state tax stamps were affixed to the cigarettes prior to the effective date. Retail dealers may continue to sell their existing inventory of cigarettes and those purchased from the wholesale dealers on or after January 1, 2010, if they can show that the state tax stamps were placed on the cigarettes prior to the effective date. The inventory must be in comparable quantity to the inventory purchased during the same period of the prior year.  It is suggested that the wholesalers and retailers perform a certified inventory prior to opening for business on January 1, 2010, to designate the pre-existing inventory from any new purchases after that date.

The division, in the regular course of conducting inspections and audits, will inspect cigarettes to determine if they are marked as required. If non-compliant cigarettes are found, the person must prove that they were in the stamped inventory prior to January 1, 2010, and that they did not purchase them after that date. Otherwise, the law provides for penalties on any manufacturer, wholesale dealer, agent, retail dealer, or any other person or entity that knowingly sells or offers to sell cigarettes in violation of this law.  The penalties are as follows:

All sellers except retail dealers are subject to a civil penalty not to exceed $100 for each pack of such cigarettes sold or offered for sale, with a maximum of $100,000 during any 30-day period.

A retail dealer is subject to a civil penalty not to exceed $100 for each pack of such cigarettes sold or offered for sale, with a maximum of $25,000 during any 30-day period.

Any manufacturer or their representative that knowingly makes a false certification is subject to a civil penalty of at least $75,000 but not to exceed $250,000 for each such false certification.

Any person violating this law is subject to a civil penalty not to exceed $1,000 for a first offense and not to exceed $5,000 for each subsequent offense.

Any cigarettes discovered that have not been marked in the manner required can be seized, forfeited to the state, and destroyed.

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The resolution of issues regarding the interpretation and implementation of this section will be made in a manner consistent with the New York Fire Safety Standards for Cigarettes, New York Executive Law, Section 156-C, as amended, and Part 429 of Title 19 New York Codes, Rules, and Regulations, as amended, and the interpretation and implementation thereof, as they exist on March 1, 2008.

New York Executive Law, Section 156-C can be located on the New York Legal page

Part 429 of Title 19 New York Codes can be viewed here

Other RCIP Information

Need Help?

All requests for publications, documents, forms, applications for licenses, permits and other similar certifications can be obtained by contacting the Customer Contact Center.

Sterling Whisenhunt, Director 

Division of Alcoholic Beverages & Tobacco
2601 Blair Stone Road
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0791

Telephone: 850.487.1395
Facsimile: 850.922.5175