Saturday, July 21, 2007

TSA To Lift Ban On Most Lighters On Planes

(AP) Airline passengers will be able to bring many types of cigarette lighters on board flights again starting next month, as federal authorities found a two-year-old ban on the devices did little to make flying safer, a newspaper reported Friday.

"Taking lighters away is security theater," Transportation Security Administration chief Kip Hawley told The New York Times in an interview Thursday.

Starting August 4th, air travelers will be allowed to carry on disposable butane lighters, such as Bics, and refillable lighters, including Zippos/Dupoint/etc, according to the Times. A prohibition on torch-style lighters, which have hotter flames, will continue.

Security screeners now collect an average of 22,000 lighters a day, and it costs about $4 million a year to dispose of them, the Times reported. "The United States previously had been the only nation in the world to prohibit lighters from carry-ons," the TSA wrote in a press release. "Lifting this ban is another step in our efforts to harmonize security measures with international partners."

Hawley said confiscating lighters hasn't meant much for security, as other items could be used to detonate bombs. "The No. 1 threat for us is someone trying to bring bomb components through the security checkpoint," the TSA administrator said. "We don't want anything that distracts concentration from searching for that."

Well wasn't it about time? What else do us cigar smokers have to bare with with almost a total indoor ban on smoking? At least now I can travel with my trusty Dupoint's on me & continoue lighting up my Habanos (of course outdoors or few places where it is still allowed) in style.

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