WASHINGTON -- U.S. officials will lift the ban on cigarette lighters on airplanes, The New York Times reported Friday.
Kip Hawley, assistant secretary for the Transportation Security Administration, told the Times that lifting the ban would free inspectors to look for more dangerous items.
"Taking lighters away is security theater," Hawley told the newspaper. "It trivializes the security process."
"The No. 1 threat for us is someone trying to bring bomb components through the security check point," Hawley told the Times. "We don't want anything that distracts concentration from searching for that."
Some 22,000 lighters have been collected every day at U.S. airports. The government spends $4 million a year disposing of them. The new rules, which will apply to disposable butane and refillable lighters but not to torch lighters, will take effect Aug. 4.
The Times reported that the government will also ease its rules related to breast milk by permitting passengers to carry more than 3 ounces of breast milk on board.
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