Airline passengers will be able to bring many types of cigarette lighters on board again starting next month after authorities found that a ban on the devices did little to make flying safer, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) said Friday.
The agency also announced that it was changing its policy on breast milk, and will allow mothers with or without children to carry more than three ounces onto planes.
Starting Aug. 4, air travelers will be allowed to carry disposable butane lighters, such as Bics, and refillable lighters, including Zippos, the TSA said. A prohibition will continue on torch-style lighters, which have hotter flames.
The agency said it costs close to $4 million to dispose of the more than 22,000 lighters it seizes every day.
Barred from checked bags
Lighters have been barred from checked bags for decades because of concerns they could start fires in cargo holds.
Congress banned lighters from flights after Richard Reid used matches to try to light explosives hidden in his shoes while on a Paris-to-Miami flight in 2001. Lawmakers worried that Reid might have succeeded if he had had a lighter. The lighter ban took effect in April 2005.
In an interview with The New York Times, TSA chief Kip Hawley said confiscating lighters has not helped security much because 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 newspaper quoted Hawley as saying. “We don’t want anything that distracts concentration from searching for that.”