North Carolina Fire Marshal Backs Ban on Novelty Lighters

April 20, 2009

North Carolina Insurance Commissioner and State Fire Marshal Wayne Goodwin has urged House lawmakers to pass a bill banning the sale of novelty lighters. The bill was passed by the Senate last Thursday.

Goodwin cited a recent convenience store fire in Jamestown as proof the law, Senate Bill 652, is needed.

“Last night’s fire at a Jamestown store appears to have been set by a child playing with one of these dangerous lighters disguised as a toy,” said Goodwin. “Thankfully no one was hurt, but I’m concerned that, if this bill is not made law, someone will get hurt next time.”

Four states have already banned the sale of these lighters and 16 others are considering similar measures. The National Association of State Fire Marshals supports a ban on the sale and use of these toy-like lighters.

The lighters are often sold at gas stations, convenience and hardware stores and are easily mistaken for toys. Many have lights, visual effects and sound and resemble toys or characters familiar to children such as Gumby, a rubber ducky or “Nemo.”

More than 70 million of these lighters are imported to the United States each year. The European Union banned the sale of toy-like lighters as of March 2007.

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