Should novelty lighters be banned?


The National Association of State Fire Marshals is lobbying government officials to ban novelty-lighters that resemble toys, and a few states are giving the idea consideration. In California, Washington, and Arkansas, local ordinances have been passed banning the sale of these lighters have been passed.

According to the Associated Press, "Novelty lighters can look like anything from tiny skateboards and cell phones to farm animals and butterflies. Some light up or make noises, including the tiny green frog that elicits a "ribbit" when its flame is ignited."

The fire marshals are concerned that children, and even adults, can be burned by the lighters because it's hard to figure out how they work and they resemble toys.

Another concern I have is that associating cute animals and skateboards with smoking may send the wrong message to kids. In 1997, RJ Reynolds stopped using Joe Camel as a mascot for its products after Congress put pressure on the company due to similar concerns. I know: lighters aren't cigarettes, but that's their primary use.