News item

Trading standards warn of fireball danger from giant lighters

Picture of fireConsumers are being urged to make sure that bonfires and explosions stay well outside of your home during the fireworks season, warn Trading Standards as they take action to remove dangerous giant and novelty lighters from sale.
Giant lighters can explode into fireballs without warning because their flame doesn’t always go completely out after use and they contain up to five times more gas than regular lighters. They are illegal to transport anywhere in Europe, since they contain as much as twice the amount of liquid petroleum fuel permitted by law.

Novelty lighters are banned throughout Europe due to their child appeal. It is estimated that up to 1900 injuries and 40 fatalities per year in the EU are due to fire-related accidents caused by children playing with lighters

Christine Heemskerk, Trading Standards Institute Lead Officer for Consumer and Product Safety, said: "These oversized lighters can cause serious injury so I would urge people not to use them. They could explode in someone's face or hand, or if left alone may even cause a fire at home or work.

“The potential consequences are devastating. If you spot these lighters for sale anywhere, please report them to Consumer Direct on 08454 04 05 06. I would also urge traders who may not have been aware of the danger to stop selling them."

Trading Standards Officer have visited numerous retailers to remove from sale thousands of these dangerous lighters, which have injured and killed people, and have prompted large online marketplaces to ban giant lighters from their websites.
Paul Miloseski-Reid, Chair of Trading Standards’ Internet Auction Working Group said:
 “These past few weeks we have been working with the UK online marketplaces to ban giant lighters and reduce the novelty lighters available on these sites.

 “We found lighters with flashing lights, musical lighters, lighters in the shapes of guns, musical instruments and toy trucks. It is not surprising that children who come across these in the home want to play with them.”

He highlights the difficulties of identifying some banned lighters and therefore the need for the public to remain cautious despite the work Trading Standards is doing with the eMarketplaces: “We have liaised with the largest UK online marketplaces – Amazon, CQout, eBay and eBid – and all have implemented policies to ban Giant Lighters from their site.

“However, due to the numerous forms that novelty lighters can take it is very difficult to filter all of these from the sites. Initially, all sellers offering a lighter which may potentially be a novelty lighter will receive warnings from the marketplace about the law and the safety risks. Following a phase of advice, we will take action against those sellers who do not heed these warnings and continue to offer banned novelty lighters.”

Mark Wilkinson, Director of eBid, was keen to support the initiative. He said: “The statistics are frightening and all measures that can be taken to reduce the exposure to the vulnerable we applaud. eBid enforces a blanket ban on all novelty lighters.”

Siamak Bashi, MD of CQout, said: “We are pleased to help Trading Standards get their message out to sellers on such an important safety issue. We have written to all the sellers of such lighters, most of whom are unaware of the legislation, and have advised them to stop all current and future sales of such lighters.”
Editors’ notes:
More information on the law regarding novelty lighters can be found here:

EU law states that when transported lighters should not contain more than 10g of LPG

Paul Miloseski-Reid is the Chair of Trading Standards’ Internet Auction Working Group. The Group’s purpose is to ensure consistency of advice to, compliance by, and regulation of online marketplaces and their users. He can be contacted on 0208 8917728 or

TSI press office can be contacted on 08456089430 or