State and Federal initiatives carry on fight against sale of hazardous novelty lighters
Toy-like or novelty lighters have been responsible for injuries, deaths, and accidents across the country. Children are attracted to novelty lighters because they look like toys. A number of accidents involving novelty lighters have been documented, including a 2007 fire in Arkansas that took the lives of a two-year-old and 15-month-old. Many local units of government have banned novelty lighter sales, and several other states have pending legislation to do so as well.
Ten states have passed laws limiting or outright proscribing sales of novelty lighters, many of which look like children's toys. According to the United States Fire Administration (USFA), Washington, Oregon, Nevada, Louisiana, Arkansas, Tennessee, North Carolina, New Jersey, and Maine have all passed laws outlawing the sale of novelty lighters while Virginia prohibits sales of novelty lighters to minors.
Efforts to limit sales of novelty lighters continue in 10 different states. On February 2, Maryland's House Judiciary Committee held a hearing on House Bill 191, which would prohibit novelty lighter sales in that state. The bill is supported by the Maryland State Firemen's Association, a National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) member.
In addition to the ongoing efforts at the state level, legislation supported by the NVFC was introduced last year in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate prohibiting the introduction or delivery for introduction into interstate commerce of novelty lighters. The House bill (H.R. 2050) was introduced by Rep. Mike Michaud (D-ME) on April 22 while the Senate bill (S. 723) was introduced on March 26 by Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR).
In 2007, NVFC Chairman Philip C. Stittleburg sent a letter to then-Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) Chairman Nancy Nord requesting that the CPSC prohibit the importation, sale, and distribution of novelty lighters in the United States. USFA's theme for Arson Awareness week last year was: "Toylike Lighters - Playing with Fire." The NVFC has partnered with USFA to help bring attention to this important issue.
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