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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: December 6, 2016 01:04 PM
From: Representative Frank Burns
To: All House members
Subject: Amending Title 18 prohibiting the retail sale and distribution of novelty lighters
In the near future, I will be introducing legislation amending Title 18 (Crimes and Offenses) to prohibit the retail sale and distribution of mechanical or electrical devices used for lighting cigarettes, cigars or pipes that look like a toy, feature a flashing light or make musical sounds.
Readily available at hardware stores, gas stations, and convenience stores, toy-like novelty lighters are easily mistaken for toys and routinely contribute to unintentional fires and injuries to children and families. The following are examples of accidents caused by novelty lighters:
  • In 2008 in Maine, a 6-year-old picked up a miniature baseball bat, thinking it might be a flashlight, and burned part of his face as the flame shot out.
  • In 2007 in Arkansas, two children under the age of two died after setting fire to their apartment with a motorcycle-shaped lighter.
  • In 2006 in South Carolina, a woman shot herself in the hand while attempting to light a cigarette with what she thought was a pistol-shaped novelty lighter.
    To date, 18 states have enacted novelty lighter legislation, including our neighboring states of New York and New Jersey. Please join me in co-sponsoring this important legislation.

Introduced as HB66