Local Politics

Bill seeks to snuff out novelty lighters

Posted March 24, 2009

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— Some North Carolina lawmakers want to ban the sale and distribution of lighters that look like toys.

The state Child Fatality Task Force, which investigates child deaths, recommended a novelty-lighter ban to protect children. Senate Bill 652, which would make selling such lighters punishable by a $500 fine, is pending in the Commerce Committee.

Novelty lighters Some hope lighter ban effort flames out

Novelty lighters come in a variety of shapes, from a little pig to a wolf with flashing blue eyes to an elephant to a NASCAR helmet. Some even look like cigarettes.

Yvette McCray, a Fayetteville resident, said she supports the proposed ban.

"Kids do think they're toys, and you don't want them playing with them and catching the house on fire and catching themselves on fire," McCray said. "A 99-cent lighter does the same trick, and you can put it in your cigarette case where the kids can't see it. You can't even put (novelty lighters) in your cigarette case because they don't fit in there."

Novelty lighters are sold primarily in tobacco shops, where they're stored behind glass.

Tobacco Mart owner Ali Seif said he sees no reason for the ban because novelty lighters are fairly child-resistant – and they aren't big sellers anyway.

"You have to push it very hard to light it up," Seif said. "It's not popular because it's expensive. It costs about $5."

Arkansas, Maine and Oregon have already banned novelty lighters, but some smokers said they hope the proposed North Carolina legislation flames out.

"I think (protecting children) starts with the parents, and really, a lighter is a lighter," Fayetteville resident Prentice Harley said.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • dazrite Mar 25, 2009

    hmm....we seem to have about 50,000 laws based on 'for the children'. we also seem to have a budget deficit that can't be met because of 'for the children'. Just outlaw children....saves the idiot legislature from themselves and us from their idleness.

  • whatusay Mar 25, 2009

    This is just part of the plan to advance socialistic values...to make this country a socialist state. This is really very stupid of any government employee to spend time on. Why not go out and rake some leaves, or plant some flowers, do something useful.

  • foetine Mar 25, 2009

    they want to take away my lighter and force my kid to pray to their God. Enough of these elected loons destroying America!

  • Nikka Mar 25, 2009

    Jesus, save us from ourselves!!!!!!

    Give me a break... tackle the real issues.

  • Tommylee Mar 25, 2009


  • woodrowboyd2 Mar 25, 2009

    common sense is gone forever, big brother is takeing over our lives and we just watch it happen.

  • JuanGrande v3.0 Mar 25, 2009

    Glad to see our government working on the important issues of the day

  • Yellow Rider Mar 25, 2009

    Anytime someone wants to reduce your freedom, the easiest way is to say it's to protect children. Yikes! I guess sharp kitchen knives should be banned too.

  • Yellow Rider Mar 25, 2009

    We should all be locked up for our own safety.

  • Stevesteve Mar 25, 2009

    DANG! This is CRAZY. What's next? No more candy cigarettes?