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EU says cigarette lighters must be child-proof

Written by: Staff
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BRUSSELS, May 12 (Reuters) All cigarette lighters sold in the European Union must be child resistant from next year after the EU's executive arm has approved a new law aimed at reducing deaths and injuries from fires.

By adding simple and cheap devices to make it difficult for small children to use a lighter, the EU said it could prevent up to 40 deaths a year. Most of the deaths involve children.

EU member states have already agreed to the draft law.

The cost of adding the child-resistant devices, which require two hand movements to use the lighter, would be less than 0.05 euros (6 US cents), the Commission said.

''This decision is pure common sense, it will save lives and reduce injuries,'' EU Health Commissioner Markos Kyprianou said in a statement yesterday.

''The success of such a measure has already been seen in other parts of the world, and I expect to see similar results in the EU.'' The Commission had tried for years to ensure that only child-resistant lighters can be produced or imported, and was prevented from imposing a ban in 2004 by lobbying from China, which accounts for half the lighters sold in the European Union.

Beijing said a ban would violate World Trade Organisation rules.

But similar rules exist in Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United States.

REUTERS PDS PM0317

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