The War on Cuteness
Ever since Maine banned novelty cigarette lighters last year, some lawmakers in other states have been eager to follow suit. The bill introduced in Missouri didn’t go anywhere, but I’m sure the idea will return in future sessions.
As you can guess, the rationale for a ban is increased safety. Kids like to play with things that look like toys, so they’ll play with novelty lighters and start fires.
The Missouri bill would have limited the ban to novelty lighters that would appeal to children younger than age 18. To achieve their goal of lighter safety, legislators would have to ban all lighters that would appeal to anyone, adults included. Toddlers think anything small and movable is a toy; they don’t check to see whether it looks like something from Toys”R”Us before playing. And that’s why parents shouldn’t leave any lighter, novelty or otherwise, within the reach of children.
It takes a lot of legislation to substitute for a little bit of common sense.