Although lighters have been covered by a safety standard since 1989, huge numbers of unsafe products reach the UK market each year, notably imports from the Far East. From March 2008, it will be illegal to sell lighters without child-resistant mechanisms, making it easier for retailers and trading standards personnel to spot potentially unsafe devices.
Trading Standards Institute officer Christine Heemskerk told C-Store: "With child resistant lighters becoming mandatory, it will be much easier to enforce the law on safety. We urge retailers to purchase lighters from reputable sources only, and to ask for paperwork to show that they comply with safety standard ISO 9994. In this way retailers can show due diligence."
The lighter safety standard ensures lighters will still work safely after being dropped from height or left in the sun, and restricts maximum flame heights.
Peter Travers, UK general manager at Bic, said the company's lighters went through 50 different safety checks before being released to the market. He added: "An information leaflet is available to any retailer by calling us on 01895 827100."