Do You Have to be 18 to Buy a Lighter?
Do you have to be 18 to buy a lighter? The short answer is, legally, no, unless that is you live in Pennsylvania. The long answer, though, is at most stores you will be carded and turned away if you are under the age of 18. This, however, reflects store policy more than state law.
State Lighter Laws
Currently, the only state to ban the sale or furnishing of butane to minors is Pensylvania. This is thanks to Pennsylvania Statute Title 18, Section 6315. Other than this, the sale of a lighter in and of itself is not illegal to buy under the age of 18.
Selling “tobacco paraphernalia” to minors is, however, illegal in all states. I’m sure you would think that a lighter would fall into this category, but it doesn’t. That is, unless you tell the cashier, “I’m going to use this lighter to smoke with” or reference any tobacco use.
They don’t, by themselves, fall into the tobacco paraphernalia category because, while we do naturally associate a lighter with smoking, there are tons and tons of legitimate practical uses for a lighter aside from smoking.
Novelty Lighter Laws
Novelty lighters, however, are not something that has much practical use to them. Lighters meant to look like toys and animals have on many occasions attracted children to them leading to injuries, deaths, and accidents.
More and more states have passed legislation limiting or making it illegal to sell novelty lighters altogether.
So far 17 states have passed such legislation, and it has failed to pass in another 19. You can find the complete list here.
Against Store Policy
Now, while it may not be illegal to sell a lighter to a minor, many stores have it built into their store policy to card and refuse to sell lighters to anyone under the age of 18. This has a lot to do with the morality of the issue than the actual laws. These same stores impose similar restrictions on certain glues and other inhalants, that, while not illegal, are often abused.
So do you have to be 18 to buy a lighter? It all depends on the state you live in, and the store you are shopping at, and what you need the lighter for. So… Yes and no.