Disposable cigarette lighters, including novelty and cheap refillable lighters are flame producing devices designed for lighting cigarettes, cigars, pipes and other combustible materials. They are designed to be thrown away when empty of fuel. Some may be refillable but not repairable. 1
Burns are the most common injury to children linked to disposable cigarette lighters. Young children do not understand that a small flame can quickly grow into a dangerous fire.
Burns can happen when children:
Between January 2014 and December 2018, 55 children aged up to 16 years were treated in NSW hospitals for a burn associated with the use of a cigarette lighter. The majority (82%) of these were children aged 6 to 16 years of age, playing with a lighter. The most serious injuries involved older children igniting petrol or aerosol spray cans.2
The Trade Practices (Consumer Product Safety Standard) (Disposable Cigarette Lighters) Regulations 1997 (Cth) states that all disposable, novelty and certain refillable lighters sold must meet performance and labelling requirements. They must have a device, e.g. a button, release catch or metal guard which makes it difficult for small children to operate the lighter. Lighters must also be permanently marked with one of the following warning labels;
WARNING - KEEP AWAY FROM CHILDREN or
WARNING - KEEP OUT OF REACH OF CHILDREN3
Consumer Protection Notice No. 18 of 2011 places a permanent ban on toy-like novelty cigarette lighters which young children may mistake for toys.
From 13 February 2020, the Consumer Goods (Disposable Cigarette Lighters) Safety Standard 2019 will apply. The new mandatory standard includes requirements for visual checking and for testing against performance requirements.
1 Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. Product Safety Available from: https://www.productsafety.gov.au/products/health-lifestyle/personal/tobacco-related-products/disposable-cigarette-lighters
2 NSW Statewide Burn Injury Service. Unpublished data, August 2019.
3 Product Safety Australia (2019) Disposable cigarette lighters (disposable). Available from: https://www.productsafety.gov.au/standards/disposable-cigarette-lighters#child-resistance