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Careful with that cigarette lighter, Eugene

Here's what you need to know when buying or selling cigarette lighters.

By Trust and Safety 9 October 2023

Smoking rates are the lowest they've ever been – just 8% of the adult population in Aotearoa! If you're still on the durries, it's never been a better time to quit.

Even with fewer people smoking than ever before, cigarette lighters have other uses and are still commonplace in nearly every home. If you're buying or selling lighters, it's important to make sure the products are safe, to protect you and your whānau. Unsafe lighters can result in people getting hurt and property being damaged, so this isn't something we take lightly.

What are the rules?

Most cigarette lighters must meet mandatory product safety standards in Aotearoa. Sellers need to be aware of this, and buyers should educate themselves to ensure they’re buying products that are safe.

This safety standard comes under the Fair Trading Act 1986 and is enforced by the Commerce Commission, so the consequences are steep if you’re caught selling non-compliant products.

Novelty lighters

There’s a long list of reported injuries relating to novelty lighters (any lighter that produces a flame and is designed to look like another object). Many of these happen to kids given their toy-like appeal.

Because of the nature of these products, novelty lighters can't be sold on Trade Me.

Buying cigarette lighters

It’s important to be able to identify products that are subject to the mandatory product safety standard, and whether or not they comply.

If you aren’t confident a lighter is safe and compliant, don’t bid or hit Buy Now until you’ve done some research.

If a cigarette lighter seller doesn’t expressly mention the product’s compliance within the listing description, use the Q&A to clarify this with the seller – if you have any concerns, report it using Community Watch at the bottom of the listing.

Selling cigarette lighters

When listing anything on Trade Me, if you have any concerns about a product’s safety or compliance, don’t list it until you’ve done your research.

The Commerce Commission has a guide on this standard, with info to help you identify whether or not the standard applies to your products.

If this standard applies, you must be have a certificate of compliance to show that it’s been tested and meets the regulations. It’s illegal to sell these products if you can’t provide the paperwork.

If the Commerce Commission asks for paperwork from you, you must be able to provide a certificate to them within ten days of being asked.

Trade Me may also ask for a certificate from you, and will remove any listings from the site if we're not sure they comply.