A guide into stress-free product compliance

No novelty lighters

Disclaimer: This document provides guidance and is not a legally binding interpretation and shall therefore not be relied upon as legal advice.

Constantly recurring recalls

It is more than fifteen years since the EU prohibited the sales of cigarette lighters that resemble objects that are attractive to children, these are also known as "novelty lighters”. Nevertheless, recalls of such products remain a daily occurrence.

Nice, but dangerous

The pitfall is clear. These are nice looking products that many purchasers want to sell. But miniature versions of real world products are very often attractive to children. Children simulate the real world in play with these products. Unfortunately, attractive and dangerous rarely go hand in hand. 

Novelty lighters

Some examples of recalled novelty lighters that can be found on Safety Gate, the EU system that published information on dangerous products.

Legislation and standards

Children playing with lighters cause a significant number of serious fire accidents, injuries and fatalities. 

The European Commission has the possibility to adopt a “decision” to address serious risks from certain products. It lead to the publication of Decision 2006/502/EC to ensure that only lighters which are child-resistant are placed on the market and to prohibit the placing on the market of novelty lighters. Such decisions remain valid for maximum one year, but the validity of this first Decision in 2006 was extended every year until Decision (EU) 2016/575 set the end date on 11 May 2017. 

This does not mean that after May 2017 novelty lighters are no longer banned. The harmonised standard EN 13869:2016 addresses child-resistant and child safety requirements for lighters. Clause 4.3 of the standard states that “No lighter shall be a child-appealing lighter”. The definition of child-appealing lighters “includes, but is not limited to, lighters or their holders, the shape of which resembles cartoon characters, toys, guns, watches, telephones, musical instruments, vehicles, human body or parts of the human body, animals, food or beverages, or that play musical notes, or have flashing lights or moving objects or other entertaining features”.

Additional common safety requirements for lighters can be found in standard EN ISO 9994.


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