Adult-proof lightersSaturday, November 24, 2007 at 15:28 | Posted in eu, smoking | 14 Comments
Hans-Jürgen Schlamp and Markus Verbeet write about EU regulating the daily life of citizens in Spiegel Online International. Without going in to the broader context of the topic I would like to pick one of the examples used to illustrate these regulations: the question of so called child-safe cigarette lighters. I incidentally wrote about child-proof lighters in my Finnish blog in July as the Swedish paper SvD reported that the Swedish government intends to bring in legislation about the lighters.
What is a child-safe cigarette lighter? I quote Schlamp and Verbeet:
Under an European Union regulation that goes by the code K (2007) 1567, as of March 11, 2008 only “child-safe” disposable lighters will be approved for sale in the EU. But first the lighters’ “child safety” must be demonstrated in a test laboratory. Under the regulation, a lighter is deemed acceptable (that is, child-safe), if no more than 15 of 100 kids aged less than 51 months manage to light it.
The main concern I expressed in my Finnish blog was that the everyday life of a smoking adult may become somewhat harder if technical obstacles are introduced to lighting a cigarette, an action that I perform 30-40 times each day. I have lots of unpleasant experience about so called child-proof packages of toxic substances such as solvents and cleaning lotions. Many of these packages tend to be quite adult-proof as well.
Lighting a cigarette in a windy weather may sometimes be hard enough as it is. I do not know about Brussels but November storms here in Helsinki may sometimes be harsh enough to make outdoors smoking something which requires skills of a pyromaniac to get started with. These child-secured devices may make it totally impossible to smoke outdoors same time as smoking indoors is prohibited in most public places.
Another quote from Schlamp and Verbeet:
But even the bureaucrats sometimes have their doubts about their own basis research. Now they warn that even a lighter labeled as “child-safe” in the future is “not necessarily safe for children,” adding that lighters should continue to “be kept out of reach of young children.”
Which brings me to my other point. No responsible parent would leave a box of matches within reach of an infant. So why would they leave a cigarette lighter accessible by a child?
Sales of tobacco and smoking products (lighters included) to minors is prohibited by law at least here in Finland. Since children are not in a possession to get hold of a cigarette lighter provided that their parents take elementary efforts in that direction, there does not seem to be a plausible reason to make lighters harder to use. Unless, of course, the issue of adult-proof lighters is another plot of the almighty anti smoking lobby.