Commerce Commission and Fire Service to check lighters at shops tomorrow
21 July 1999
The Commerce Commission and the Fire Service will visit shops tomorrow (Thursday July 22) to check that cigarette lighters are child resistant.
Commission Fair Trading Manager Rachel Leamy said that the aim of the visits is primarily educative, but if breaches of the product safety standard for cigarette lighters are discovered, then enforcement action will have to be considered.
"We want to help businesses comply with a law that aims to prevent fires and save lives," Ms Leamy said. "The Minister of Consumer Affairs introduced the safety standard after a spate of fires started by children playing with cigarette lighters. The Commission was given the job of enforcing it."
Investigators and Fire Fighters will be visiting dairies, gift shops, service stations, magazine shops and tobacconists in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.
"For shops, it is not a complicated safety standard. It requires just two simple things: a certificate from their supplier and correct labelling," Ms Leamy said.
"If the supplier cannot provide certificates and correctly labelled lighters, then the shop should buy from another supplier."
There are additional requirements that manufacturers, importers and distributors must meet. The Commission strongly recommends that manufacturers, importers and distributors of cigarette lighters read the Commission's free booklet, Safety Standards for Cigarette Lighters.
The cigarette lighter safety standard is mandatory and has been in force since May 15.
Courts can impose fines of up to $100,000 on a business and $30,000 on an individual for breaches of the standard.
The Fair Trading Act gives the Minister the power to make product safety standards mandatory. To date, four product safety standards have been made mandatory under the Act. They are for:
? flammability of children's night clothes;
? toys for children aged up to three years (prohibits toys that can be a choking hazard); and
? cigarette lighters.
Media contact: Fair Trading Manager Rachel Leamy
Phone work (04) 498 0908
Auckland Chief Investigator Janet Whiteside
Phone work (09) 377 7311
Wellington Chief Investigator Ross McPherson
Phone work (04) 498 0909
Christchurch Chief Investigator Stuart Wallace
Phone work (03) 371 0297
Communications Officer Vincent Cholewa
Phone work (04) 498 0920
Commission media releases can be viewed on its web site www.comcom.govt.nz