by Diane Tuazon
MIDLAND - A year ago Governor Rick Perry signed a bill into law that gave retailers one year to sell any non-fire safe cigarettes.
"We started watching our inventory. Those that are not FSC marked we move them to the front to get rid of them faster," Business Owner, Connie Johnson said.
Now retailers throughout the Permian Basin are double checking their stocks of cigarettes to make sure each pack is 'fire safe' compliant in time for the new year.
"We found 7 packs left and we're selling them for half off. We had a staff go through them to make sure we didn't miss anything or got rotated to the back," Johnson said.
Retailers are given until January 1, 2010 to sell any non fire safe cigarettes they have left in stock, or they could face a hefty fine.
"We get fined $100 a pack. As a mom and pop shop, we can't afford that especially in this economy. We have to be very deligent with what we sell," Johnson said.
The new cigarettes are designed to self extinguish if they are not actively being smoked, and some smokers say they like the new, fire safe cigarettes and can't tell the difference between the old pack.
"No I haven't noticed a difference at all. The first half taste better than they used to. I'd rather have to re-light then see a place burn down," Smoker, James Organ said.