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State fire marshal calls for ban on novelty lighters

State fire marshal calls for ban on novelty lighters



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SALT LAKE CITY -- Utah's top fire authority wants a ban on so-called novelty cigarette lighters. Fire Marshal Ron Morris says the lighters pose a big safety risk.

"13-thousand home fires are caused by young people annually," he says. "We just like to stop them where we can."

Four states have already banned the lighters, which can resemble anything from a toy gun, to a football to a farm animal.

"Our big concern is we have spent years and years teaching our children not to play with cigarette lighters," Morris says. "And now we end up with a bunch of lighters that look like regular cartoon characters."

Arkansas banned novelty lighters following a fire that killed two toddlers who officials say were playing with one.

Maine, California and Washington have similar bans. Morris says several others are considering the move, and he doesn't expect much opposition.

In fact Morris claims the U.S. lighter industry supports the ban. He says 70 million of them were imported to the U.S. last year.

The effort has met with very little opposition in other states. Opponents largely have argued children can still get their hands on regular lighters.

E-mail: mgiauque@ksl.com

Marc Giauque

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