The Product Safety Standards (Cigarette Lighters) Regulations 1998

A number of children have died in fires caused by playing with lighters. The cigarette lighter standard demands that disposable lighters (and cheap refillable ones) are child resistant. This means they are harder to use, not that a child cannot use them.

Standard information

The standard applies to all disposable cigarette lighters and to refillable cigarette lighters that have an ex Customs value of less than NZ$3.50.

Generally this means that novelty lighters that sell at retail for less than NZ$15.00 will be included in the standard. The standard does not apply to utility lighters i.e. lighters designed specifically for lighting barbecues, gas stoves etc.

The regulations declare parts of the American standard 16 CFR 1210.4 and parts of International Safety Standard for Lighters – Safety specifications (ISO 9994 1995E) to be a product safety standard. The American standard 16 CFR sets out tests that establish that the lighter cannot be easily operated by a child under five. It requires that any shipment of the lighters be accompanied by a certificate of compliance that: 

  • states that the lighter complies with the American standard 16 CFR 1210.4(external link),
  • provides the name and address of the manufacturer,
  • the physical site of manufacture, and
  • the month in which manufacture of the lighter occurred. 

This information must be made available to an officer of the New Zealand Customs Service or the Commerce Commission within 10 days of any such request.

ISO 9994 sets out safety performance requirements in relation to flame height, extinguishing of flame, etc.

Enforcing the standard

The Commerce Commission(external link) is responsible for enforcing this standard and has published some guidelines.

Purchasing the standard

International Safety Standard for Lighters – Safety specifications (ISO 9994 1995E) can be purchased from Standards New Zealand(external link).