Fire-related deaths in Maryland dropped by 22 percent last year, according to the Maryland State Fire Marshals.
Preliminary figures show that 52 people died from fire injuries in 2012, down from 67 in 2011, the fire marshal's office reports. Safer cigarettes are a leading factor in the downward trend since 1988, State Fire Marshal William Barnard says.
A state law passed in 2007 requires that cigarettes sold in the state be designed to extinguish more quickly than standard cigarettes. Barnard says a 20-year-old requirement for fire sprinklers in newly built, multi-family dwellings is another significant factor in the decline.