After essentially determining that the ban was a waste of time for airport employees and travelers alike, the two year ban prohibiting cigarette lighters from airplanes has been lifted. According to Kip Hawley, the assistant secretary for the Transportation Security Administration, because small batteries could be used to set off a bomb, the ban had done little to improve aviation security.
Congress imposed the ban after a passenger, Richard Reid, tried to ignite a bomb in his shoe in 2001 on a flight from Paris to Miami. Since that time, airport security has been collecting 22,000 lighters a day nationwide.
The policy refers to disposable butane lighters, like Bics, and refillable lighters, like Zippos. Torch lighters, which have thin, hotter flames, will still be banned. The change goes into effect on August 4.
The restrictions on bottles of water and other liquids are still active, with no sign of waning. If over twenty thousand lighters were thrown away every day, I have to wonder just how much water is being wasted do to these security measures. In these times of growing environmental awareness, I have to wonder how much good the disposal of perfectly good water and perfectly harmful plastic bottles does for our well-being.