Retailers throughout Mississippi have a little less than two weeks to remove all novelty lighters from their shelves. The law which bans the sale and distribution of these lighters takes effect on July 1.
Novelty lighters can look like, among other things, animals, miniature cars, mobile phones, and cameras, fishing lures, stacks of coins, markers, and doll accessories or even a quacking popular rubber ducky bath toy.
Anyone who sells or distributes novelty lighters in violation of the law will be subject to a fine of up to $500. The law will be enforced by the State Fire Marshal’s Office; a state, county or municipal law enforcement officer; or a municipal code enforcement officer.
The Mississippi Legislature passed House Bill 232 in the 2010 session which was signed into law by Governor Haley Barbour.
The toy-like appearance of these lighters makes them attractive to children, which can lead to property damage, serious injury and in some instances even death. A widely reported case in 2007 involved two toddlers in Arkansas who died after setting fire to their apartment with a motorcycle-shaped lighter.
“By removing this dangerous temptation, we can protect the state’s children from serious burn injuries or death,” Commissioner of Insurance and State Fire Marshal Mike Chaney said.
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