ALBANY, N.Y. - These lighters are shaped like toy trucks, Christmas ornaments, even cartoon characters - and New York State fire officials want them banned.
At a press conference Monday, officials warned consumers that uniquely-shaped cigarette lighters are becoming more and more attractive to children.
Cookies, tiny tractors, dinosaurs, even Shrek-shaped lighters are causing major concern for fire officials.
"These lighters look like toys, and kids can't distinguish between something so potentially dangerous and a toy shaped like their favorite cartoon character," says Russ Haven, of New York Public Interest Group.
As Christmas approaches, fire officials want consumers to refrain from using novelty lighters as stocking stuffers or grab-bag gifts. Jim Burns, President of the Firefighters Association of the State of New York, says regular lighters already land in the hands of children too often, and many times lead to tragic results.
He says making lighters more colorful and attractive to children is a disaster waiting to happen. "We want to urge the New York legislature to ban novelty lighters, and keep our kids safe."
Novelty lighters have already been banned in Maine, Massachusetts, Washington, Oregon and Hawaii.