Toy-like cigarette lighters banned
Minister for Fair Trading Peter Lawlor has ordered an interim ban on the sale of toy-like novelty cigarette lighters in Queensland.
Minister Lawlor said the lighters, designed to look like toys such as frogs or chickens, posed a potential danger due to their likelihood of finding their way into the hands of children.
“A product made to produce fire should not be targeted towards children,” Mr Lawlor said.
“In addition to these products looking like children’s toys, many of them emit animal sounds which correspond to the design of the toy, to further attract the attention of young kids.
“For example, a frog shaped lighter makes a ‘croaking’ sound and a duck shaped lighter makes a ‘quacking’ sound when ignition buttons are pushed.
“As these sounds are often emitted from the same hole as the flame, a child may hold their ear to the hole to hear the sound and accidentally ignite the lighter, which could result in serious burns.
“The design of these lighters could lead to parents and carers believing the items are toys and buying them inadvertently for their children to play with.
“The other concern is because they are so attractive to young children, they may take and hide them from adults who are using the lighters.
“Having young children playing with lighters is a tragedy waiting to happen.”
Recent statistics from the Queensland Fire and Rescue Service showed that in 2008-2009 there were 29 house fires started by children playing with lighters, matches or candles.
And in the first 6 months of 2009-2010 there have already been 15 of the same incidences.
The interim ban complements a similar ban made by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) late last year.
Breaches of the Fair Trading Act can result in fines of up to $54,000 for individuals and $270,000 for corporations.
More information about product safety and a list of items that are currently banned in Queensland can be found at www.fairtrading.qld.gov.au
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