Cigarette lighter standard

The Product Safety Standards (Cigarette Lighters) Regulations 1998

Purpose of the standard

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 can't use them.

Standard information

Under the Product Safety Standards (Cigarette Lighters) Regulations 1998, cigarette lighters must comply with specific sections of 2 standards:

  • ISO 9994:1995E
  • American Standard 16 C.F.R. Part 1210 Safety Standard for Cigarette Lighters.

Product Safety Standards (Cigarette Lighters) Regulations 1998(external link)

 The standard applies to:

  • all disposable cigarette lighters, and
  • 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 doesn't apply to utility lighters — that is, lighters designed specifically for lighting barbecues, gas stoves etc.

American standard 16 C.F.R.

The American standard sets out tests to establish that the lighter can't be easily operated by a child under 5. It requires that any shipment of lighters be accompanied by a certificate of compliance that:

  • states that the lighter complies with the American standard 16 C.F.R. 1210.4
  • 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.

Justia US Law website — 16 C.F.R. PART 1210 — Safety Standard for Cigarette Lighters(external link)

ISO 9994

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

ISO website(external link)

Import documentation

Importers of cigarette lighters may be required to produce a certificate of compliance that states that the lighter complies with the American standard 16 C.F.R. 1210.4.

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.

Who enforces the regulations

The Commerce Commission enforces the regulations in-market, and has prepared guidance material to help traders understand and comply with the requirements.

Commerce Commission website — Cigarette lighters(external link)

The New Zealand Customs Service enforces the regulations at the border — under the Fair Trading Act and the Customs and Excise Act. They may request documentary evidence of compliance and/or inspect goods before they're permitted to enter New Zealand. Non-compliant goods are deemed prohibited imports under the Fair Trading Act.

New Zealand Customs Service website — Prohibitions and restrictions(external link)

Purchasing the standard

You can purchase the International Safety Standard for Lighters from the Standards New Zealand website.

Standards New Zealand website(external link)

Note: Only the version of the standard that's specifically cited in the Regulations applies — revisions after the date the law is made don't form part of the requirements. The cited standard will remain available through Standards New Zealand — check to make sure you have the correct version.