Majority of Europeans 'Worried by Dangerous Lighters'

Mar 15, 2011, 04:36 ET from BIC Group

CLICHY, France, March 15, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- BIC, the leading manufacturer of stationery products, lighters and shavers, and independent pollsters APCO Insight today published a new poll that shows that nearly 87 per cent of Europeans are worried by information that pocket lighters with the capacity to kill and maim are openly on sale across the continent.

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According to European Commission figures, 40 are killed and 1900 injured every year in Europe because of accidents with lighters, many of them children. However, nearly 75 per cent of lighter models tested by Prosafe don't meet the required safety standards, despite an emergency European Commission decision banning the marketing of non-compliant lighters.The vast majority of these are imported lighter models.

Nearly half of consumers were 'very worried' that pocket lighters that have been banned in other countries, some of which have caused injuries or death, were on sale in their countries, and 64 per cent strongly agreed that pocket lighters sold in the EU must conform to safety requirements.

Stephen Russell, Secretary-General of ANEC, the European consumer voice in standardisation, said: "Potentially dangerous lighters are still finding their way into the hands of consumers. ANEC is calling for the creation of a European-wide framework to ensure the better coordination of market surveillance activities among all Member States. In the meantime, we ask retailers and distributors to exercise vigilance and test the products they sell."

The survey also threw up some major surprises. Nearly two in three respondents (63 per cent) thought up to 50 per cent of imported products sold in Europe are checked at the port of entry. According to contact with authorities, less than one per cent of non-food goods are checked.

The survey follows the European Commission's decision to give the Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority(VWA) in the Netherlands 10 weeks (according to EU Procedure) to explain its position on surveillance of potentially dangerous lighters being imported through the Port of Rotterdam, following a complaint filed by BIC.

Francois Clement-Grandcourt, Deputy General Manager BIC lighter division, said: "In North America, there was a 60 per cent reduction in child injuries when the law was properly enforced. That means we all have a moral obligation to remove dangerous lighters from our markets."