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Fire Safety Programs » Novelty Lighters

Novelty Lighters

North Carolina Senate Bill 652- “An Act to Prohibit the retail Sale and Distribution of Novelty Lighters” was signed by the Governor on June 30, 2009. The law becomes effective October 1, 2009.

Felt tip marker that is a lighter and actual felt tip marker

Do you know what a novelty lighter is? It’s one that works like any other lighter, except that it looks like a child’s toy, a gun, an animal, a car or nearly anything else but a lighter. You can see the magnitude of the problem by visiting EBay online and looking at the items listed under “novelty lighter.” There are literally hundreds of lighters disguised as toy animals, cell phones, key rings, balls and other items.

Thousands of stores throughout the United States also sell novelty lighters.

As of October 1, 2009 it will be unlawful to sell at retail, offer to sell at retail, or give, or distribute for retail sale of promotion a novelty lighter in the State of North Carolina.

Exceptions are:

  • A lighter manufactured prior to January 1, 1980
  • Any Mechanical or electrical device primarily used to ignite fuel for fireplaces or charcoal or gas grills.
  • Standard disposable or refillable lighters that are printed or decorated with logos, labels, decals or artwork, or heat shrinkable sleeves, but which do not otherwise resemble a novelty lighter.

Any person who violates this law is guilty of an infraction and can be fined up to five hundred dollars ($500.00) for each violation. (GS 66-16.1 (d))

Looking ahead, the ultimate goal of the fire service is to make the sale and distribution of novelty lighters illegal all across the United States. Several European countries recently banned novelty lighters, and we are working with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission to do the same. With your support, we can eliminate the fires and burn injuries that result from the disguised nature of novelty lighters. The following web site links offer additional information:

Lighter or toys, Can you tell the difference?