The government on Thursday prohibited import of cigarette lighters if the price per unit is less than ₹20, with a view to discourage inbound shipments of the product.
"The import policy of cigarette lighters ... is revised from 'free' to 'prohibited'. However, import shall be free if CIF value is ₹20 or above per lighter," the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) said in a notification.
CIF value (cost, insurance, and freight) is a trade term used in international commerce to determine the total value of goods being imported.
Prohibition on single use lighters
The prohibition has been imposed on pocket lighters, gas-fuelled, non-refillable or refillable.
Imports of pocket lighters, gas-fuelled, non-refillable stood at $0.66 million in 2022-23. It was $0.13 million in April this fiscal.
Similarly, the inbound shipments of pocket lighters, gas-fuelled, and refillable, stood at $8.87 million in 2022-23 against $7 million in 2021-22. It was $0.96 million in April of this fiscal.
These are imported mainly from Spain, Turkey and the UAE.
Tamil Nadu CM Stalin move to help domestic matchbox industry
In September last year, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.K. Stalin urged the Centre to ban single use plastic cigarette lighters to help the domestic matchbox industry.
These plastic cigarette lighters, which are legally and illegally imported from countries like China, are available for ₹10 and can substitute 20 matchboxes. Further, these non-refillable lighters result in immense plastic waste, damaging the environment and also impacting health, he had said.
The matchbox manufacturing industry is a major source of employment in the southern part of Tamil Nadu.