State Senator Hugh T. Farley (R, C, I – Schenectady) reports that he and his colleagues in the New York State Senate today passed a bill to promote fire safety by prohibiting the sale and distribution of novelty lighters. The Gloversville Common Council asked Senator Farley to support this bill (S933A) that would remove novelty lighters - which have features like music, lights, and toy-like designs – from store shelves and prevent them from getting into the hands of children who may not understand the fire risk.
“I received correspondence from the City of Gloversville, bringing this serious issue to my attention,” Senator Farley said. The letter noted a local fire on March 20th was caused by a child playing with a lighter. “Unfortunately, not only did the family lose their home in this incident, a life was also lost that day. I thank the Gloversville officials for supporting this legislation and am pleased to report back to them of its passage in the Senate.”
Novelty lighters are designed to appeal to children since they often feature musical sounds, flashing lights, and toy-like designs such as cartoon characters, animals, cars, spaceships, cell phones, ice cream cones or sports equipment. The Federal Consumer Product Safety Commission has recalled thousands of novelty lighters since 1996 due to their danger to public safety.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, the leading cause of fire deaths among preschoolers is child-set fires. In addition, Association experts state that nationally, 350,000-400,000 house fires are caused by children each year costing almost $8 billion in property damage annually.
The legislation prohibits the retail sale and distribution of these lighters and requires a toll-free telephone number to be set up for receiving information from the public about possible violations by retail stores. In addition, it gives law enforcement the authorization to seize any novelty lighters from those establishments.
The European union and at least fourteen states, including Massachusetts, New Jersey, and North Carolina, have also banned the sale of novelty lighters.
The bill has been sent to the Assembly.