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e-CFR data is current as of January 25, 2021

Title 16Chapter IISubchapter BPart 1202 → §1202.2

Title 16: Commercial Practices

§1202.2   Findings.1

1The Commission's findings apply to the matchbook standard that it published on May 4, 1977 (42 FR 22656-70). On Mar. 31, 1978, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit set aside portions of that standard (D. D. Bean & Sons, Co. v. CPSC, 574 F. 2d 643). On Nov. 17, 1978, the Commission published a revised version of the standard which reflects the court's decision. However, the findings have not been revised and they are therefore not fully applicable to the revised matchbook requirements. For example, the revised standard does not address the unreasonable risk of injury of “[b]urn injuries that have been sustained by persons from fires that have been set by the afterglow of extinguished bookmatches” (§1202.2(a)(6)) because the court set aside the afterglow performance requirement.

(a) Risk of injury. The Commission finds that unreasonable risks of injury from accidents are associated with matchbooks. These unreasonable risks, which this part 1202 is intended to reduce or eliminate, are:

(1) Burn injuries, sustained by children and others, including mentally or physically impaired persons, who play with or otherwise improperly use bookmatches.

(2) Burn injuries sustained by persons who use bookmatches that fragment or have delayed ignition.

(3) Eye injuries sustained by persons who use bookmatches that fragment and cause particles from such matches to lodge in a person's eye.

(4) Burn injuries sustained by persons who use bookmatches that, when struck, ignite the remaining matches in the matchbook.

(5) Burn injuries sustained by persons from fires that have resulted from unexpected ignition of bookmatches with no deliberate action by the user.

(6) Burn injuries that have been sustained by persons from fires that have been set by the afterglow of extinguished bookmatches.

(b) Products subject to this standard. (1) The products subject to this standard are those kinds of manufactured ignition devices known as matchbooks. The matchbook consists of a group of bookmatches joined together and fastened within a cover. Although matchbooks are commonly referred to as paper matches or paper-stem matches to distinguish them from individual stick matches such as wooden stem matches packaged in boxes, all matchbooks, regardless of the materials of manufacture of the covers or of the bookmatches fastened within, are subject to this standard.

(2) Matchbooks subject to this standard can be divided into two basic categories: Resale matchbooks and special reproduction matchbooks. Resale matchbooks can be subdivided into advertising and nonadvertising matchbooks. Nonadvertising matchbooks are generally sold by large chain stores, and constitute a small portion of the total resale matchbook volume. Resale matchbooks with advertising are generally given away by tobacco shops, drug stores, vending firms, and other mass distribution outlets. Special reproduction matchbooks, characterized by their distinctive and unique cover designs, are purchased and distributed for promotional purposes by hotels, restaurants, financial institutions, and other business enterprises, and are given free to users.

(3) The Commission estimates that resale matchbooks accounted for almost 75 percent of the volume of matchbooks in 1975, or about 15 billion matchbooks, while special reproduction matchbooks accounted for just over 25 percent, or about 5.5 billion matchbooks.

(c) Effects on utility, cost, and availability. (1) The Commission finds that the public need for ignition devices which are small, portable, and can be used to provide a source of fire, is substantial since such products meet basic requirements for a source of fire to ignite tobacco products, fires, candles, or other products, and are also used for miscellaneous other purposes such as providing short term illumination. Three types of products: Matchbooks, individual stick matches, and lighters, predominantly supply the source of fire to meet these requirements.

(i) The Commission estimates that in 1976 U.S. consumers required approximately 645 billion such fire sources or “lights,” as they are known, with almost 98 percent of this total required for tobacco products. In the aggregate, the requirements by U.S. consumers for a source of fire has been growing at an annual rate of approximately 3 percent. Matchbooks, the products regulated in this standard, are estimated to have supplied about 65 percent of the source of lights, lighters accounted for about 25 percent, and individual stick matches (primarily wooden-stem type) accounted for the remainder.

(ii) The Commission also finds that matchbooks fulfill a need by institutions and business enterprises for a particular form of specialty advertising that is both relatively inexpensive and effective in reaching a specified audience or population segment with the advertiser's message. Various studies of matchbooks as a form of advertising have found that readership can average 3 to 15 times higher than average readership, listenership, and viewership figures from competing media such as magazines, newspapers, radio, and television, and that readership retention of the matchbook advertising message was extremely high, about 45 percent. In addition, matchbooks tend to be considerably less expensive than other forms of specialty advertising, including those competing advertising items such as address books, key cases, litterbags, and the like, which are themselves relatively inexpensive.

(2) The Commission finds that the standard will have no adverse effects on the utility that consumers derive from matchbooks. To the extent that injuries and property damage associated with the use of matchbooks is reduced or eliminated as a result of this standard, the utility of matchbooks as a source of fire will be increased.

(3) The Commission estimates that manufacturing cost increases as a direct or indirect effect of this standard will be modest for the industry as a whole. Such increases will tend to be concentrated in one-time costs to complete changeover to reverse friction, and in costs to establish and implement testing programs and certification procedures.

(i) Because some 80-90 percent of the matchbooks produced annually are given free to consumers, there is not likely to be any direct cost impact on the consumer as a result of the standard. Some proportion of increased manufacturing costs will be passed on to the institutions and business enterprises that purchase matchbooks for promotional purposes. To the extent that increases in advertising and promotional costs may be reflected in higher prices for goods and services sold by these businesses, there may be indirect cost effects on consumers. If so, such impacts would likely be small, if not imperceptible.

(ii) For the 12-20 percent of matchbooks that are purchases at retail by consumers, some proportion of any manufacturing cost increases may be passed on to the consumer. A resulting increase in retail prices for such matchbooks will be small, no more than a few cents per box of 50 matchbooks.

(4) The Commission finds that the standard will not have impacts of significant magnitude on the availability of matchbooks. Although some institutions and business enterprises may reduce their matchbook purchases or eliminate them in response to any increased price of matchbooks, the large number of such purchasers, and the large volume purchased annually, are such that curtailment of purchases by some businesses is likely to have very small effects on the total number of matchbooks available to U.S. consumers.

(d) Alternatives. (1) The Commission has considered other means of achieving the objective of the standard throughout the course of its development. Certain other more elaborate test requirements were considered and were shown to have the potential for severe adverse effects on competition and estimated to result in disruptions and dislocations of manufacturing and commercial practices. Therefore, having considered and rejected such other means of achieving the objective of the standard, the Commission has found none that would cause less disruption or dislocation of manufacturing and other commercial practices, consistent with the public health and safety than this standard.

(2) Because of competition from substitute products such as inexpensive disposable butane lighters and because of other prevailing business and economic conditions, the industry manufacturing matchbooks has been in a state of contraction in recent years. This contraction, marked by the exit of some firms and by plant closings or consolidations, is likely to continue in the future; but this will neither be the result of, nor significantly accelerated by, effects of the standard. Currently, aggressive price and service competition prevails among firms vying for customer accounts. It is anticipated that this competition for sales may increase as an indirect effect of the standard. To the extent that this occurs, there may be some disruption or dislocation of manufacturing, sales, or distribution practices in certain matchbook product categories and market segments. Marginal firms and firms producing limited product categories or for limited market segments may be affected to a greater degree than multiproduct category or multimarket firms.

(e) Conclusion. The Commission finds that this standard, including its effective date, is reasonably necessary to eliminate or reduce the unreasonable risks of injury associated with matchbooks and that the issuance of the standard is in the public interest.

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