All cigarettes sold in the European Union are by Thursday to comply with new mandatory safety standards aimed at reducing the risk of fire. The introduction of so-called Reduced Ignition Propensity (RIP) cigarettes that self-extinguish when left unattended would ‘save hundreds of lives each year,’ the European Commission said in a statement.

Around 1,000 deaths and over 4,000 injures in more than 30,000 cigarette-ignited fires were recorded in the EU between 2003 and 2008, the commission said.

National authorities are to enforce the new measure.

The commission cited data from Finland where the number of victims of fires cause by burning cigarettes was reduced by 43 per cent following the introduction of RIP cigarettes in April 2010.

Fire-safe cigarettes are already mandatory in the United States, Canada and Australia, it said.