Governor Cuomo Signs Dinowitz Legislation Banning Novelty Lighters

Albany - New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced that he has signed into law Assembly bill A.1011, legislation initially proposed by Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz (D-Bronx) which prohibits the retail sale, distribution or offer to sell at retail to any person in the state, novelty lighters. Passed by the legislature in June, the bill is chaptered .359 of the laws of 2013.

The new law will also:

  • provide a definition of novelty lighters;
  • establish civil penalties;
  • provide no person is subject to a civil penalty for any violation occurring before the 90th day after enactment.

The Federal Consumer Product Safety Commission has recalled thousands of novelty lighters since 1996 due to their danger to public safety. Some of these novelty lighters have features that are attractive to children including musical sounds, toy-like designs and flashing lights. Fires set by juveniles are the fastest-growing fire threat in the United States. Annually more than 300 people are killed, 30% of whom are children. These fires cause almost $1 billion in property damage. The European Union and at least fourteen states, including Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Illinois, have banned the sale of novelty lighters.

"I have no doubt that this law will prevent the injuries of young children and perhaps even save lives,” Dinowitz said. “Because these lighters often appear to be harmless toys, they are extremely appealing looking to little kids who can easily hurt themselves by playing with them. The fact that firefighters from throughout the state and even certain manufacturers of lighters support this legislation shows that there is a strong consensus that dangerous novelty lighters do not belong in New York. I am pleased that the state legislature passed this bill, and I thank Governor Cuomo for signing this important piece of legislation into law."