June 17, 2010

Novelty Lighter Ban to Take Effect July 1

JACKSON – Retailers throughout Mississippi have a little less than two weeks
to remove all novelty lighters from their shelves. The law which bans the
sale and distribution of these lighters takes effect on July 1. Novelty
lighters can look like, among other things, animals, miniature cars, mobile
phones, and cameras, fishing lures, stacks of coins, markers, and doll
accessories or even a quacking popular rubber ducky bath toy. The
Mississippi Legislature passed House Bill 232 in the 2010 session which was
signed into law by Governor Haley Barbour.

The toy-like appearance of these lighters makes them attractive to children,
which can lead to property damage, serious injury and in some instances even
death. A widely reported case in 2007 involved two toddlers in Arkansas who
died after setting fire to their apartment with a motorcycle-shaped lighter.

“By removing this dangerous temptation, we can protect the state’s children
from serious burn injuries or death,” Commissioner of Insurance and State
Fire Marshal Mike Chaney said.

Anyone who sells or distributes novelty lighters in violation of the law
will be subject to a fine of up to $500. The law will be enforced by the
State Fire Marshal’s Office; a state, county or municipal law enforcement
officer; or a municipal code enforcement officer.

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Donna J. Cromeans
Public Relations Director
Mississippi Insurance Department