Novelty Cigarette Lighters: An Unlikely Problem

by Matt

As many of us are currently aware of, the world today can be a very dangerous and scary place.  There are many things around the home that are dangerous to children in particular.  Knives, chemicals, and heavy objects falling on you are just some examples.  One of the things in the home that I believe is not looked at more often is fire.  Fire can be very dangerous, especially if used improperly in the home.  Fire has it’s benefits, but it seems to have more negative impacts than positive ones.  Unfortunately, it can be very devastating and heartbreaking when someone loses a loved one as a result of afire.  “On September 25, 2007, 15-month-old Peyton Edwards and 2-year-old Breydon Edwards of Russelville ,Arkansas, died after setting fire to their apartment with a motorcycle-shaped lighter” (USFA par.3).  Those who are parents with young children  like to think that our children our safe and sound when we are home, but in most cases that is not true.  The truth is that something like this situation could have been avoided if there was no toy-shaped  lighter in the first place to begin with.  Then these two children would still be alive and not in boxes six feet under.

Lately it has come to the attention of multiple people and organized groups that lighters that look like toys should be banned from the United States in order to protect children from injury, property damage, and even death.  To my dismay, I found out that this worse than what I had originally thought.  According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA),  smoking paraphernalia is the leading cause of house deaths and injuries  (NFPA par. 1).  There are more incidents of children starting fires in homes in the United States every year.  The only logical thing to do in this situation would be to ban cigarette lighters that look like toys so that adults would not be able to get their hands on them right?  This would prevent adults who smoke from purchasing these lighters and then the incidents of children getting a hold of these lighters and setting things on fire would drop drastically.  I wish that this solution would be as simple as that.  Unfortunately , in this country, many people do not think that the government should intervene and instead it should be up to the parents to make sure that these lighters are put away safely.

The reason why all of this legislation is being put forward is simply for the protection of children in the United States.  The truth that we and all adults  have to face is that children love to play and they will play with almost anything that looks like a toy to them.  Children, especially young children, cannot tell the difference between a toy-like lighter and a regular plastic toy.  Sometimes these lighters look so much like plastic toys that sometimes it is almost impossible for adults to tell these lighters apart from toys either. The president of the National Association of State Fire Marshals showed an example of a toy-like lighter to the senate.  “They look like something you would get in a McDonald’s Happy Meal,” said John Dean, president of the National Association of State Fire Marshals, who often shows off the device (qtd. in Lorentzen par.2).  What I’m getting at is that there are many things that can look like toys.  Lighters should not look like toys period.  This is very dangerous and obviously has negative consequences if a situation like a fire should occur as a result of a child playing with one of these lighters should happen.  If a United States senator cannot even tell the difference between a novelty lighter and a toy, then how can we expect children to do so?  It only makes sense to ban lighters that look like toys to prevent this from happening.

More and more people die in the United States from accidentally setting something aflame than one might think.  I think that this is a very serious problem in this country.  We all know that not all adults are responsible.  Adults make mistakes and so does every human being.  Not all parents who smoke and own novelty lighters can be trusted to simply put their lighters out of the way of their children.  Peyton and Breydon Edwards would still be alive today if their mother just took the time to make sure that her lighter was put away in a safe and secure place.  It should be expected of parents to be responsible enough make sure that their children are safe not just from novelty lighters, but also all lighters in general.  More and more fires are being started from children playing with lighters in the home and accidentally injuring or killing themselves.   Children love playing with toys, but what could start out as fun play time could end in disaster.


Works Cited


Lorentzen Amy. “Ban Sought on Novelty Lighters.” USAToday. The Associated Press. 12 Feb. 2008. Web. 9 Feb 2014.

The National Fire Prevention Association.  Seven People Die Each Day In Reported U.S. Home Fires:  NFPA Releases New Report On Home Fire Statistics.  23 April

The United States Fire Administration,  National Arson Awareness Week: Toylike Lighters: Playing With Fire/ Media Kit, April 2008, PDF file.


9 thoughts on “Novelty Cigarette Lighters: An Unlikely Problem

  1. To be completely honest with you, i had never even heard of novelty lighters. After reading your article i can see the many dangers associated with the toy like figures, but is this really the governments problem, or the parents like you said. I feel like in a way you persuade us to blame the government for not stepping in but then you mention the parents responsibility and it makes me change my opinion on who the culprit is. Coming from a family with younger siblings, i know the importance of putting up potentially harmful things so my siblings don’t touch them. I don’t know if the government should implement a law, spending tax dollars just because parents are being irresponsible with novelty lighters.

    • I agree with Rlpacek. I never knew what novelty lighters were until I read this article. Once again I believe a lot of this starts and ends at home. If children are raised to know how harmful lighters can be, then things can be solved before a problem even rises. I know growing up I have learned the hard way a few times, and sometimes that is the best way to learn. But I also feel no child should risk their life trying to figure something out.

  2. I would have to agree with your stance Matt. I don’t believe that lighters should look like toys. It does not seem right, if an adult wants to use a lighter, they should just use a regular stick lighter. I don’t think it will stop children from the curiosities of fire but it will prevent the accidents caused by those that look no different from your average toy. In my opinion, after reading your post, I agree and believe they should be banned.

  3. I believe that ultimately its the parents responsibility to take care of the child and to be aware of what he or she is playing with and their well-being. I agree with you that lighters should not be made to look like little toys. Overall, you constructed a great article, I enjoyed your drawing.

  4. I think cigarette lighters should be banned and not looks like toys. It would entice children to want to play with them and it would put children in danger.

  5. I believe it’s the parents responsibility to make sure their children are not playing with lighters around the house, but at the same time if it is becoming too big of an issue I think they should be banned. Nice visual.

  6. I agree with Paige. It is the parents responsibility not to be smoking in front of their children and using the cigarette lighters. If the children think that using these devices and smoking is ok then they are going to do it. Also if the parent leaves them laying around the house then of course children are going to pick them up because children are always curious. Parents should keep these lighters locked up so children can not get ahold of them and burn themselves. It is common sense. If these lighters are becoming a huge issue because children and getting burned, then the government needs to ban them. It’s simple as that.

  7. You made a great point I think these should be banned because kids think that they are just play toys and can get seriously hurt because they do look like such toys. I do believe that parents should be held responsible and should be more careful about these kinds of things.

  8. This never even crossed my mind as being a problem. After reading with your article I completely agree they should be banned. I do agree that parents should keep an eye on their kids but when lighters are made to look like toys children will find and play with them.

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