Panel votes to ban novelty lighters in Ala.

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - Smokers who want to get a laugh by lighting their cigarette with a novelty lighter would be out of luck under a bill being considered in the Alabama Legislature.

The House Government Operations Committee approved a bill Tuesday on an unanimous voice vote that would ban the sale in Alabama of novelty lighters.

Novelty lighters advertised on the Internet include toy guns, hammers, playing cards, pigs, hand grenades and even a toilet.

The bill's sponsor, Republican Rep. Arthur Payne of Trussville, said the ban is needed because children mistake the lighters for toys.

He cited cases where children have been injured in accidents caused by playing with a novelty lighter.

The bill now goes to the full House for debate.

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