Oregon bans sale of novelty lighters

Governor Ted Kulongoski has signed House Bill 2365 prohibiting the selling or distribution of novelty (toy-like) lighters in Oregon.

The bill, sponsored by Representative Paul Holvey, is designed to prevent lighters that look like toys from getting into the hands of children.

"I am pleased the way the House and Senate worked to pass this legislation, with the full support of the Governor," said Oregon State Fire Marshal Randy Simpson. "We have been working on this issue along with our fire service partners for a number of years and now we can begin the process of eliminating these dangerous devices disguised as toys."

Toy-like lighters have features that are attractive to children, including visual effects, flashing lights, musical sounds, cartoon or toy-like designs or other elements that would reasonably be expected to make it attractive to a child less than 10 years old.

The Oregon Office of State Fire Marshal is responsible for implementing the new law and has started notifying retailers statewide of the new regulations. Retailers have until June 2, 2009 to eliminate their stock of toy-like lighters.

"I congratulate Oregon's Fire Marshal and fire safety leaders for putting Oregon, once again, at the forefront in dealing with a new challenge — the dangers of novelty lighters," said Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.). "I am re-introducing my federal bill to ban novelty lighters because they have caused too many tragic deaths and injuries and I'm going to work to make sure that these safety hazards masquerading as toys are kept out of the hands of children nationwide. The Oregon Fire Marshal's office has been a national leader in bringing this issue to the attention of members of Congress."

Oregon was the third state, behind Maine and Tennessee to pass a law banning toy-like lighters. Oregon's passage was followed by similar bills in Arkansas and Virginia now waiting for signing by their respective governors.

For more information on toylike lighters, click here.

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