How old do you have to be to buy a lighter?

There are many contradicting ideas about selling lighters to minors, as it seems that everyone has an opinion about it.

In reality, a store can refuse to sell whatever they want, no matter your age. 

Some big stores have rules of not selling what they consider to be “dangerous items” to minors.

They call these policies “social rules.” It may not be the perfect business model, but stores do this every day to show the community that they care.

This practice is perfectly legal, and there’s nothing you can do about it.

Another reason shops restrict minors’ ability to buy such items is to avoid a potential lawsuit that could cost them millions of dollars. 

If a 13-year-old buys a lighter from Walmart and burns himself, the parents could sue the shop and ask for reparations.

If this were to happen, the judge would probably dismiss the case, but shop managers decided that it wasn’t worth it to take the chance and banned the practice of selling lighters to minors. 

Now to answer your question:

There are no laws that prohibit the selling of lighters to minors.

If you are between the ages of 16 and 18, you should be able to buy one.

However, as I previously stated, if the clerk decides not to sell you something, you can’t complain because it is within his rights, and you can’t do anything about it.

If you insist, the clerk may try to convince you that selling a lighter to a minor is against the law.

This is inaccurate because the law that sellers refer to applies only to tobacco products,  not lighters or matches.

Some states raised the legal age for tobacco purchases from 18 to 21, but this law doesn’t mention lighters or matches of any kind.

You might initially believe this is a good law, but consider this for a moment: it is legal to join the army at 17 with your parents’ approval, at 18 without. You could die for this country, yet you are not legally allowed to smoke. 

If you are 18 or older, you could tell the clerk that it is legal for you to buy a car that has a built-in lighter, but it is illegal for him to sell you a lighter from his store. That should give him something to think about

Is it illegal for a minor to carry a lighter?

As a rule, it is not illegal for a minor to carry a lighter. There are currently no laws that prohibit that.

No matter what some might say, if you are a minor and get caught with a lighter by an adult, tell him to point you to the law that states that you are not allowed to have one.

Because there are no laws restricting it, you can carry as many lighters as you want.

Related: Can You Bring A Lighter On A Plane?

Be careful, though, not to walk around with your pockets filled with them because eventually, somebody will think you’re a freak and call the cops, stating that you are up to no good.

Can you bring a lighter to school? What will happen?

Bringing a lighter to school is not illegal.

Maybe you have a good reason for bringing one, like a school project that requires some pyrotechnic effects.

However, even though it is not technically illegal to bring a lighter to school, you should carefully check to see if the school has a policy regarding dangerous items.

Most schools have one and they can enforce consequences for being in possession of such contraband.

Even if the school allows you to carry a lighter, try not to go overboard with it. Some lighters look like real guns, and it would definitely be a bad idea to bring one of those.

If you must carry a means to light a fire at school, I recommend you buy a keychain lighter. It’s very small, and most people will never give it a single look, thinking it’s just a keyring with an interesting design.

How old do you have to be to buy a lighter in Great Britain?

There is no legal age requirement to buy a lighter.

However, good luck in finding the place that will sell you one.

According to law, it is illegal for shops to sell refills for lighters that contain butane or any liquid fuel.

Some shops might refuse to sell a lighter to you, saying that a lighter contains flammable gas and they cannot allow you to purchase it because of this.

There is a workaround for this though.

You can easily buy an electric lighter or a Tesla coil one. You can even buy them online without any issues.

Some years ago, there was a debate about Tesla coil lighters because they were considered “concealed weapons” by some uneducated people.

That issue was settled in court, and the judge decided that an electrical lighter is not a concealed weapon.

Should you let your child carry a lighter?

Please consider this if you live in a rural area with forests, distance between houses, and freezing nights.

If your kid gets lost in the woods, for whatever reason, do you want him to have the means to start a fire that could potentially save his life?

It’s all about perspective and necessity.

A lighter is not inherently good or bad.

It can burn a rope, and it can be used to fix a bicycle tire.

A lighter is essentially just a tool, and being “bad” or “good” depends on how it is being used.

Additionally, a lighter is at the top of the list of the useful items you should always have with you.

So the better question would be: do you trust your child enough to give him a lighter? Only you know the answer to this one.

Why does my kid have a lighter?

There can be many reasons why your underage son or daughter carries a lighter, from trying to look cool to smoking without you knowing about it.

When I was a kid, I was fascinated by flashlights, and I always had one with me. I didn’t need one or have reason to carry it; I just liked carrying them with me.

The best course of action would be just to ask your kid about it.

It also depends on what type of lighter they have.

Some years ago, teens were experimenting with inhaling butane to get a high sensation.

Unfortunately, inhaling butane is very dangerous and should not be taken lightly. Almost every year, some teens die because of this.

Is smoking at 17 years old illegal?

Actually, yes and no, and I will explain how this can be.

All states set the minimum age to possess and use tobacco at 18.

Yet some states with strong ties to the tobacco industry allow minors to smoke on private premises.

In public, if you are 17 years old or younger, you are not allowed to smoke in any state. You are not even allowed to enter a tobacco store in some states.

This is somewhat absurd because you might want to buy a cigarette case as a present for someone else, but you are legally prohibited from doing so.

It is illegal to sell or supply cigarettes to a minor. Even if you can smoke at home, the law makes it impossible for you to purchase tobacco.

Of course, you can always say that you found a pack of cigarettes on the street to protect your adult friend who is supplying them to you., but that probably won’t work every time.

Can you buy lighters and matches as a minor in Australia?

Yes, you can buy lighters and matches. There is nothing illegal about this, yet most shops will refuse you.

You are not required to show an ID to buy these items, but don’t get discouraged if the clerk will not sell them to you. Some will even call the manager to ask if they can sell them to an underage person.

As I previously stated, some shops have a policy of not selling dangerous items to minors. This is not a law; it’s just a store policy.

Usually, the bigger the shop, the higher the chance to refuse you, as bigger shops have the most rules. 

Does the law consider lighters and matches tobacco products?

The FDA stated that matches and lighters are not considered tobacco products.

For an item to be considered a tobacco product, it must contain tobacco.

When people tell you that a lighter is a tobacco product, they are doing it because they most likely don’t want to sell it to you, not because it is against the law.

Can you buy a lighter as a minor in California?

Yes, you can legally purchase a lighter, but most shops will not sell one to you. They will invoke their “right to refuse service” if you insist.

In reality, the seller doesn’t need to consider whether or not he’s allowed to sell to you because the register prompts him when an age check is required based on the products you are trying to buy.

If you still want to buy a lighter as a minor, you may need to check a couple of shops until you find one that will sell one to you.

What about Europe? What is the law there?

In Europe, rules are more lenient than in the rest of the world, and you shouldn’t have any issue buying the means to start a fire.

Yet, once in a blue moon, you will find someone who will not want to sell you a lighter because of your age.

Ironically, he or she may gladly sell you a bottle of whiskey because… Europe.

Another odd thing is that shops that don’t sell lighters to minors have no problem selling matches to minors because, again… Europe.

Managers of those shops must have somehow forgotten that lighters and matches do the same thing.


To summarize, no laws prohibit minors from owning or using a lighter.

Remember, though, that burning stuff with a lighter because it is “cool” can result in disaster.

There were 1,291,500 house fires in the U.S. alone in 2019 (source), so remember that even if you are allowed to own a lighter, you shouldn’t use it for fun.