To reduce the risk of accidental fires, cigarette lighters must meet certain performance, design and labelling standards. Lighters must be designed to ensure most children would not be able to operate them.

What is the product safety standard for cigarette lighters?

The Product Safety Standards (Cigarette Lighters) Regulations 1998 (Regulations) set specific sections of these two standards: ISO 9994:1995E and American standard CFR 16 Part 1210 Safety Standard for Cigarette Lighters with amendments as the official product safety standard that suppliers of cigarette lighters in New Zealand must comply with.

What cigarette lighters are covered?

A cigarette lighter is defined in the Regulations as a flame producing device that is designed to light cigarettes, cigars and pipes and is either:

  • disposable
  • designed to be refilled with fuel and has a customs value of less than $3.50.

A customs value is the value of a product at the point of import or export and may be different from the product’s retail value. You can check the customs value of goods with Customs New Zealand.

The rules do not apply to:

refillable lighters with a customs value of more than $3.50

  • lighters brought into New Zealand in a person's luggage or effects, as long as the number of lighters carried is not more than four
  • component parts used to manufacture cigarette lighters where a certificate of compliance has already been issued.

Who do the rules apply to?

If you supply, offer to supply or advertise to supply cigarette lighters covered by the product safety standard, you must comply.

This includes:

  • Manufacturers, importers and distributors who supply cigarette lighters to retailers
  • Retailers who sell cigarette lighters instore or online to customers
  • Individuals who offer second-hand cigarette lighters for sale at markets or on internet auction sites.

What are the rules?

In general, cigarette lighters must:

  • be child resistant
  • comply with certain performance and structural requirements
  • meet labelling requirements
  • be documented with a certificate of compliance

The product safety standard for cigarette lighters contains more details and requirements, some of which are very technical in their nature. You should read it to make sure you understand all the requirements and testing.

Child resistance requirements

Cigarette lighters must be designed to ensure most children would not be able to operate them.

The mechanism designed to make the lighter child resistant must:

  • automatically reset itself after each ignition
  • not impair safe operation of the lighter when used normally
  • be effective for the lighter's functional life
  • not be easily overridden or deactivated.

Performance requirements

There are certain performance and structural requirements that cigarette lighters must meet.

  • The flame must be produced by the lighter being deliberately operated by hand.
  • The lighter cannot spit, sputter or flare a flame.
  • The flame must go out when no longer in use.
  • The lighter must have no sharp edges.
Flame heights and height adjustments

Maximum flame heights for non-adjustable lighters are set at:

  • 50mm high for non-adjustable lighters that are not windproof
  • 120 mm high for non-adjustable windproof lighters.

The maximum flame height for a lighter fitted with a mechanism to adjust the flame height is 150mm. At its lowest setting, the flame cannot be higher than 50mm. Prior to sale, the height should be adjusted so that the flame will not be higher than 125mm when first used.

An adjustable lighter, when used in the normal way, must need a deliberate action by the user to either increase or decrease the flame height. The lighter must also have markings to show a user how to reduce or increase the flame height.

Labelling requirements

The manufacturer or importer must mark each cigarette lighter with the following information, which can be in code form:

- the time when the lighter was manufactured (not to exceed a period of more than 31 days); and

- the manufacturer's identity, or private label with a code mark or another label by which the seller can identify the manufacturer if the buyer asks for this information.

Certificate of compliance

Each shipment of cigarette lighters must be accompanied with a certificate of compliance.This certificate does not have to follow any specific format, but it must contain:

  • a statement that the lighters comply with the American Consumer Product Safety Standard for cigarette lighters (16 CFR 1210)
  • the name and address of the manufacturer or importer issuing the certificate
  • the month and year of manufacture
  • the physical address where the lighters were manufactured if this is different to the manufacturer's address.

It is illegal to sell cigarette lighters where there is no certificate of compliance. Importers must provide a certificate of compliance with the imported product to New Zealand Customs Service (Customs) when the cigarette lighter shipment enters New Zealand.

Any seller/importer must supply a certificate of compliance within 10 days when requested by the Commerce Commission or NZ Customs.

Complying with the standard

It is your responsibility to ensure the cigarette lighters you supply are safe. You cannot rely on the lighter being safe simply because it has been offered for sale to you by a manufacturer or wholesaler. You should request to see a copy of the certificate of compliance. If you have any concern about the safety of cigarette lighters you have for sale, do not sell them.

If you sell a non-compliant cigarette lighter, you could put consumers at risk. You will also have breached the Fair Trading Act. It is an offence under section 30 of that Act to supply, offer to supply or advertise to supply cigarette lighters that do not comply with the product safety standard.

We enforce the Fair Trading Act, and may take a prosecution against you in Court if you breach the standard. Companies can be fined up to $600,000 for each breach of the Act. Individuals can be fined up to $200,000.

You may also have to conduct a recall of any lighters that you supply which do not comply with the product safety standard. Information on carrying out a product recall is available from the Consumer Protection website.

Read more about selling cigarette lighters, or go to the Standards New Zealand website to buy the standard.

Where can I get more information about the product safety standard?

The product safety standards are set by Standards NZ or equivalent overseas agencies. You can purchase a copy of any of the standards from Standards New Zealand by calling 0800 782 632 or visit www.standards.govt.nz. You can access the Regulations and the Fair Trading Act online at the government’s legislation website www.legislation.govt.nz. The information on this website is free.