In response to a petition, CPSC established safety rules for cigarette lighters and multi-purpose lighters that can be operated by children. These requirements are intended to make lighters subject to the standard's provisions resistant to successful operation by children younger than 5 years of age. The requirements for cigarette lighters are codified at 16 CFR part 1210. The requirements for multi-purpose lighters are codified at 16 CFR part 1212.
A cigarette lighter is a flame-producing product that consumers commonly use to light cigarettes, cigars, and pipes, although it may be used to light other materials. The term “lighter” does not include matches or any other lighting device intended primarily to light materials other than smoking materials. When used in reference to the requirements at 16 CFR part 1210, the term “lighter” only includes “disposable lighters” and “novelty lighters”.
A disposable lighter is a lighter that meets any of the following criteria:
- cannot be refilled with fuel; or
- uses butane, isobutane, propane, other liquefied hydrocarbon, or a mixture of the referenced fuels under pressure AND has a Customs Value or price from the manufacturing factory under $2.75
A novelty lighter is a lighter that may meet any of the following criteria:
- has entertaining audio or visual effects
- depicts logos, decals, artwork, or other real-life objects
- resemble articles commonly recognized as appealing to or intended for use by children under 5 years of age (e.g., cartoon characters, toys, guns, watches, musical instruments, vehicles, toy animals, food, or beverages)
Unlike disposable lighters, a novelty lighter may operate on any fuel (including butane or liquid fuel) and is not dependent on their Customs Value or factory price.
A multi-purpose lighter is any lighter used by consumers to ignite items such as candles, fuel for fireplaces, charcoal or gas-fired grills, campfires, camp stoves, lanterns, fuel-fired appliances or devices, or pilot lights, or for uses such as soldering or brazing. Some multi-purpose lighters have a feature that allows for hands-free operation. The term “multi-purpose lighter” specifically excludes:
- devices intended primarily for igniting cigarettes, cigars, and pipes (whether or not they are already subject to 16 CFR part 1210)
- devices containing more than 10 oz of fuel
Both lighters and multi-purpose lighters must utilize a child-resistant mechanism or system that:
- prevents at least 85% of the children from “activating” the lighter (see test protocol at 16 CFR § 1210.4 for lighters 16 CFR § 1212.4 for multi-purpose lighters)
- automatically resets for each subsequent use
- does not impair the safe operation of the lighter when the lighter is used in a normal and convenient manner
- operates for the reasonably expected life of the lighter
- cannot be easily overridden or undone
In addition to the requirements noted above, multi-purpose lighters that allow for a hands-free operation must:
- require operation of an additional feature (e.g., lock or switch)
- use a manual mechanism for turning off the flame
- automatically reset when, or before, the user lets go of the lighter when the hands-free function is not used OR when turning off the flame after the hands-free feature is used
Lighters must be labeled with:
- Date of manufacture (must be specific to the month)
- Identification of the manufacturer or importer (private labeler is also acceptable as long as seller can provide identify of the manufacturer or importer to the consumer)
Such labeling may be in code form.
Lighters that are sold with fuel may meet the definition of a hazardous substance and, if so, are subject to the cautionary labeling requirements of the Federal Hazardous Substances Act (FHSA). For lighters that do not meet the definition of a hazardous substance because they are sold without fuel, we strongly recommend firms comply with the cautionary labeling requirements because of the product’s intended use. For more information on cautionary labeling, visit our FHSA business guidance page.
At least 30 days prior to the distribution or importation of a lighter model for the first time, every manufacturer and importer must submit a report that includes:
- The name, address, and principal place of business of the manufacturer or importer,
- A detailed description of the lighter model to be imported or distributed and of the child-resistant feature(s) used on that model,
- A description of the testing done to establish that the lighter is child resistant, including a description of the surrogate lighter tested, the specifications for the surrogate lighter, a summary of the results of all such tests, the dates the tests were performed, the location(s) of such tests, and the identity of the organization that conducted the tests,
- An identification of the place or places that the lighters were or will be manufactured,
- The location(s) where the records of testing of the lighter are kept, and
- A prototype or production sample of the lighter model must be submitted with the report.
The report along with the sample can be sent to:
Office of Compliance and Field Operations
U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
4330 East West Highway, Suite 610
Bethesda, MD 20814
Information can be submitted electronically to RegulatoryEnforcement@cpsc.gov.
Once CPSC staff approves of the submission, firms no longer need to submit a report for that lighter model.
Section 14(a) of the Consumer Product Safety Act (CPSA) requires manufacturers and importers of consumer products subject to a regulation, standard, or ban enforced by the CPSC to certify that those products meet the requirements of the standard by issuing a certificate of compliance (General Certificate of Compliance or GCC). For more information on certification, please visit our GCC business guidance page.
For more information, please contact the Small Business Ombudsman (SBO) team: