Virginia Legislature Passes Novelty Lighter Ban

March 4, 2009

A bill to prohibit stores from selling novelty cigarette lighters to juveniles is on its way to Gov. Tim Kaine.

The bill passed out of the legislature Saturday after negotiators took out a proposal to ban the sale of any lighter to those under 12.

Del. Algie Howell’s bill would require lighters resembling cartoon characters, toys, guns or other things children might find amusing be kept out of reach to the public.

Store clerks who sell novelty lighters to those under 18 would face up to a $100 fine.

The bill was backed by firefighters, who said children mistake them for toys. Opponents said it didn’t make sense to ban novelty lighters for children but not regular lighters.

Maine and Tennessee have already banned novelty lighters, and several other states are considering doing so.

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