Senate Bill No. 227
(By Senator Foster)
[Introduced January 15, 2010; referred to the Committee on Health
and Human Resources; and then to the Committee on the Judiciary.]
A BILL to amend the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, by
adding thereto a new article, designated §47-26-1, §47-26-2,
§47-26-3, §47-26-4, §47-26-5 and §47-26-6, all relating to
creating the Protect Children from Dangerous Lighters Act;
prohibiting the sale of novelty lighters; making exceptions;
making legislative findings; providing a definition; providing
a civil penalty; and requiring the destruction of seized
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended
by adding thereto a new article, designated §47-26-1, §47-26-2,
§47-26-3, §47-26-4, §47-26-5 and §47-26-6, all to read as follows:
ARTICLE 26. PROTECT CHILDREN FROM DANGEROUS LIGHTERS ACT.
§47-26-1. Short title.
The article may be cited as the "Protect Children from Dangerous Lighters Act."
§47-26-2. Legislative findings.
The Legislature finds and declares that: (1) Lighters are
inherently dangerous products containing flammable fuel; (2) if
lighters are used incorrectly or used by children, dangerous and
damaging consequences may result; (3) novelty lighters are easily
mistaken by children and adults as children's toys or as common
household items; and (4) novelty lighters have been the cause of
many personal injuries to children and adults and property damage
throughout the state.
"Novelty lighter" means a mechanical or electrical device
typically used for the igniting or lighting of cigarettes, cigars
or pipes that has a toylike appearance, has entertaining audio or
visual effects, or resembles in any way in form or function an item
that is commonly recognized as appealing, attractive or intended
for use by young children, particularly those ten years of age or
younger, including such a device that takes toylike physical forms,
including but not limited to toy animals, cartoon characters, cars,
boats, airplanes, common household items, weapons, cell phones,
batteries, food, beverages, musical instruments and watches or has
flashing lights or other entertaining features. Novelty lighters
may operate on any fuel, including butane or liquid fuel.
This article does not apply to:
(1) Novelty lighters that were made before January 1, 1980;
(2) Novelty lighters that are considered to be collectable;
(3) Any mechanical or electrical device primarily used to
ignite fuel for fireplaces or for charcoal or gas grills;
(4) Lighters incapable of being fueled or lacking a device
necessary to produce combustion or flame;
(5) The active transportation of novelty lighters through the
(6) The storage of novelty lighters in a warehouse or
distribution center that is closed to the public for purposes of
(7) Wholesale or retail dealers selling their existing
inventory of novelty lighters before July 1, 2010, where such
inventory was purchased prior to April 1, 2010; and
(8) Novelty lighters that are in compliance with 16 CFR Part
§47-26-5. Sale of novelty lighters prohibited.
The sale, retail sale, offer of retail sale, gift or
distribution of any novelty lighter is prohibited.
§47-26-6. Authority of fire marshal.
(a) The State Fire Marshal may promulgate rules, pursuant to
article three, chapter twenty-nine-a of this code, necessary to
effectuate the purposes of this article.
(b) The fire marshal, or an authorized representative, upon
oral or written demand, may inspect the inventory of novelty
lighter manufacturers, wholesale or retail dealers, and
transporters as the fire marshal or the authorized representative
deems necessary to ensure compliance with this article.
© Whenever the fire marshal or an authorized representative,
law enforcement personnel, or any authorized personnel discover
novelty lighters for sale, retail sale or offered for retail sale,
gift or distribution, such personnel are authorized and empowered
to seize and take possession of such lighters. The confiscated
lighters will be turned over to the fire marshal and will be
forfeited to the state as contraband. Novelty lighters seized
pursuant to this article will be destroyed. Destruction will be
witnessed by at least two employees of the fire marshal and
documentation of such destruction will be made which describes the
contraband, time and location of the destruction, witnesses to the
destruction and such other information as required by the fire
(d) Any person who knowingly violates this article shall be
fined not more than $250 per violation.
NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to establish the "Protect
Children from Dangerous Lighters Act." The bill prohibits the sale
of novelty lighters and provides for exceptions. The bill also
makes legislative findings and provides a definition. Further, the
bill provides a civil penalty and requires the destruction seized
This article is new; therefore, strike-throughs and
underscoring have been omitted.