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Fliers can check empty lighters

By Associated Press
Published May 18, 2005

PITTSBURGH - The Transportation Security Administration has changed a rule banning unfilled lighters in checked luggage on U.S. airlines, according to new regulations posted on its Web site.

The decision was lauded by Zippo Manufacturing Co. officials, who said earlier this year that banning all lighters from luggage could have cut into their company's sales by as much as 30 percent.

Pennsylvania-based Zippo sold about 14-million of its signature brass-and-chrome lighters last year. It also sells millions of lighters to collectors, who were barred from flying with their collections to swap meets even if their lighters weren't filled.

The new rule appears as a footnote on updated regulations posted Monday on TSA's Web site, detailing items U.S. air travelers can and cannot carry.

"All lighters are prohibited as carryon items. Lighters without fuel are permitted in checked baggage, but lighters with fuel are prohibited," the footnote says.

TSA officials last month banned butane, electric and absorbed fuel "Zippo-type" lighters aboard all aircraft and in areas behind airport security gates. Lighters were already banned in checked baggage, but passengers previously had been allowed to have two lighters in their carry-on luggage.

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