Report Describes Role of Tobacco Industry, Fire Marshals in Flame-Retardant Campaign

An in-depth, multi-part report from the Chicago Tribue looked at the effects of flame retardants in the American environment, and one installment focused on the links between the tobacco industry promoting the use of flame retardants in furniture and a fire service organization.

In a May 8 report (, Tribune reporters wrote about how a former tobacco executive, Peter Sparber, helped to organize the National Association of State Fire Marshals (NASFM). This group represents the top fire marshal in each state, and was purportedly used by Sparber to further the tobacco industry’s agenda.

The report tells how the tobacco industry sought to align itself with the fire service to buffer trust among mainstream Americans. In an effort to rebuff burn victims and firefighters’ call for a “fire-safe” cigarette, tobacco execs instead fought to promote flame retardant furniture–furniture which contains substantial toxic materials.

Read the entirety of the Tribune series at

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