Wisconsin law on fake, unsafe lighters comes into force

A new law in Wisconsin aims to prohibit the sale of unsafe lighters as part of an effort to fight rising levels in the market of counterfeit lighters that raise the risk of fires and injury.

The 2023 Wisconsin Act 271, which came into force on July 1, marks the culmination of more than a decade of effort and will ban the sale of any lighter that fails to comply with American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) standards.

The origin of the legislation is a tragic incident in 2008, where an eight-year-old boy in Pittsville, Wisconsin, died in a house fire which is believed to have been caused by a lighter, possibly one made to look like a toy. Similar legislation was passed in Connecticut in 2022.

Among the important requirements of the new law are limitations on the permissible flame height of lighters, a ban on any device that allows spitting, sputtering or flaring of the flame, a fixed time for the extinction of the flame, mandatory drop testing to ensure lighters are structurally sound, and elevated temperature tests to ensure that fuel reservoir will not leak or rupture.

Meanwhile, retailers throughout the state will now need to follow the requirements of ASTM standards when purchasing lighters for their stores.

“For too long, US consumers have faced confusion and risk when unknowingly purchasing unsafe and counterfeit lighters,” said Steven Burkhart, president of industry organisation the Lighter Association.

“Personal injuries to consumers and economic harm to US shareholders and employees are among the consequences,” he added. “The Wisconsin law goes a long way to addressing these issues.”

Photo by willy wo on Unsplash

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