Tougher regulations are pushing China suppliers to check designs more strictly for gas leaks and acceptable flame heights.
Suppliers of refillable lighters in China are concentrating R&D efforts on improving the safety features of their products. This is in response to the ISO 9994-2002 standard adopted by the European Union in June last year.
Compared with SN/T0761-1997, the regulation that most China companies currently follow, the new ISO standard imposes stricter requirements on executing pressure, drop and temperature tests intended specifically for cigarette lighters. For instance, ISO 9994-2002 requires that the lighters be placed in a 65°C oven for about four hours before being checked for possible gas leaks. In the older standard, the temperature was set at only 55°C. The flame height requirement has also been modified from 15 to 12mm.
China's other two major markets, the United States and Japan, are also expected to adopt the ISO 9994-2002 standard in the near future.
While China makers are gradually adjusting to the new requirements, opinions vary on how this could affect the competitiveness of their prices, which has been their key advantage.