Statement by Helen Kearns, spokesperson of Meglena Kuneva, on the EU decision to ban the sale of non-child resistant and novelty cigarette lighters
End production: 12/03/2008 First transmission: 11/03/2008
The European Commission's decision banning the sale of non-child resistant and novelty lighters to consumers entered into force on 11 March 2008 in the European Union. The decision was adopted by EU Member States represented within the General Product Safety Directive (GPSD) Committee on 13 February 2007. It enhances consumer safety by requiring that cigarette lighters that are dangerous to children can no longer be sold to European consumers. Placing on the market and importing such lighters was already forbidden since 11 March 2007, giving the industry a year in which to sell off their stocks. Moreover, the decision requires governments to ensure that common cigarette lighters placed on the EU market are child-resistant. It also forbids the placing on the market of lighters which resemble objects that are particularly attractive to children (also called "novelty lighters").
Only the original language version is authentic and it prevails in the event of its differing from the translated versions.
||Exterior view of the European Commission's building
||Helen Kearns, spokesperson of Meglena Kuneva, Member of the EC in charge of Consumer Protection, showing the banned lighters, (in ENGLISH) saying that from that day, lighters that are dangerous to children will be banned in all shops in all countries across the EU; that means that lighters where there is something that clearly looks and sounds very attractive to a child or looking like a toy will be taken off the shelves; one other important category, which is the more traditional type of lighter, will have to have a new safety mechanism; they will have to have build in a requirement that makes it more difficult to open; the aim is that a child under four should not be able to use it easily; the objective is just safety; Commissioner Kuneva has said since summer and the Mattel recalls that there is no compromise on safety; these are small practical changes which will save lives across the EU
||Helen Kearns (in ENGLISH) on the number of deaths in the EU;
saying that they estimate that about 40 fatalities across the EU are caused directly by children playing with this kind of lighters; accidents, the number vary between 2000 and 3000; this is an important lesson to learn from other countries that have adopted new standards: the USA, Canada and Australia; in the USA where they have these new standards in place, they estimate that these deaths and injuries have reduced by 60%; it seems practical, proportionate and it is a small measure that will save lives; they look forward to the coming into force across the EU
||Examples of banned lighters (7 shots)