Just a thought.

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I was driving past one of the many stores that have popped up selling Vapour supplies for ex smokers and it occurred to me that if such things continue to catch on as they appear to be doing, then perhaps matches and cigarette lighters may soon become difficult to obtain.

There must be an economic threshold below which the makers of these things cannot continue to function. If say half of the market disappears then presumably the price will rise to compensate but if 75% disappears will it still be viable to make matches? Will Cigarette lighters follow? What about lighter fuel and gas cartridges?

Just a thought...


Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Feb 20, 2007
Already many a household has had a power cut and got out the decorative candles without obvious means of ignition to hand.
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Full Member
May 17, 2015
There are great swathes of the world where vaping will never be a viable economic alternative to smoking cheap cigarettes for the masses.
Through no fault of their own these people also have no idea of the detrimental effects of burning plastic rubbish, tyres, cable insulation or forests.

I don't think I will be alive to see an end to the need for matches on a worldwide scale but they may well become more expensive in Tesco.


Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Jan 25, 2011
North Yorkshire, UK
My house has 3 gas lighters and boxes of matches in 4 locations that I can think of.
Not a smoker in the household. No solid fuel fires either.


Jan 21, 2005
S. Lanarkshire
I was thinking exactly the same thing :) There's even a peanut lighter on my keyring.

Wayland has a point though, we've gotten blasé about cheap lighters.



Full Member
I have not smoked for over 40 years, yet I routinely carry a cigarette lighter and a matchsafe. I light a fire in the woodburner every day, sometimes burn the odd thing in the garden and light the candles on the dining table every evening. I use a lighter to light the solid fuel in my brew kit. I have also been known to offer a light to a smoker who has run out of matches or lighter fuel.

I think means of ignition are like knives: we use them even more often than we realise and for more reasons than the immediately obvious. I can't see a scenario when a quick and simple means of ignition becomes unviable to manufacture.

Mind you, I have found strike anywhere matches more difficult to find in recent years.Group buy of Swan Vesta, or should I buy shares in a flint mine?


Full Member
Jan 31, 2005
Think every coat and bag I own has at least one source of ignition in it. :D
I do find it harder to get non-safety matches these days though. Not a fan of safety ones. If the striker strip gets damaged/lost then they're useless. Give me an old fashioned Lucifer anyday. Think cheap lighters have a few years yet. They're so cheap to make/buy that most folk don't bother refilling the refillable ones. Intersting thing to ponder though Wayland. It's like when you read through some older sci-fi books and find that they just didn't anticipate the future tech right. Been re-reading the Stainless Steel Rat series and thougb brilliant theres a few things that just don't float. (So saying maybe so far in the future that things have come 'round again... Like flares; I hated them first time 'round :rolleyes: ).

Sent via smoke-signal from a woodland in Scotland.

John Fenna

Lifetime Member & Maker
Oct 7, 2006
I am no longer a smoker but always have at least one lighter on me.
Lots of matches in the house for the woodburner, more lighters in the garage for the workshop gas burner/blowtorch, a couple on the indoor workroom for sealing cordends etc... always a couple of lighters in the van...
Flint and steel is my favorite fire lighting method though...


Full Member
May 26, 2015
There may be more and more people using the electronic cigarette, but there is still a huge number of people smoking cigarettes, cigars and roll-ups. The majority of matchstick sales are now in 'cooking matches', I doubt the electronic cigarette has dented the matchstick market, but cheap lighters are like any other consumer product. As long as worldwide sales are high of that product, they will still get shipped to the UK on the massive container ships and sold for next to nothing... it's capitalism with a small c.

Think about the amount of plastic tat you see filling the walls of pound shops, those 'gift' shops near every tourist attraction and in the odd supermarket aisle... they get shipped here in huge quantities every day. Shoving a few pallet loads of disposable lighters in there is no problem at all.

What has been effected is the consumables for more expensive lighters. You used to be able to service a petrol lighter quite cheaply from your local tobacconist, but recently the shops seem to be sticking up the price of wicks and flints. It's cheaper sometimes to buy a pack of cheap disposables and strip them for their flints... but then that is kind of weird because you thrown away a perfectly good set of lighters for the sake of getting consumables cheaper.

A side note, I smoke and I smoke a fair amount... personal choice and like quite a few others I've spoken to recently about smoking, the whole anti-smoking thing, the push towards 'helping' people give up has been exposed by electronic cigarettes. It was fine when the big drug companies were charging a fortune for patches, sprays and gums... but if the government AND the pharmaceuticals start to lose money by the sale of something that really does help people give up, look at them scurry and hand-wring about new legislation.

It was never about public health. It was about dividing communities (a divided community tends to do as its told more readily) and it was about replacing the profits from tobacco sales with sales in pharmaceutical products. Unfortunately the advent of the electronic cigarette has meant that people can smoke them indoors (hence no more division) and no more huge profits for overinflated tobacco prices and overinflated pharmaceuticals.

So yeah... cheap lighters :p
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Nov 29, 2010
Dalarna Sweden
Plenty of matches to be found around here and I think they will continue to do so.
Even if smokers have become arias in this country and everyone is chucking out their wood furnace in favour of modern, electrically operated systems, matches will always be needed. Powercuts are quite regular, so candles and whatever kind of cooking device people use, will need to be ignited.


Full Member
Jan 25, 2014
Cabin Fever Central
Funny you should mention this Wayland, I was in my local 99p store a couple of days ago doing the usual mooch about for supplies, vaseline, twine, cheap noodles etc and the one item they did not have in stock were disposable cigarette lighters.

British Red

M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)
Dec 30, 2005
Doesn't cost much to buy a box of 50 refillable piezzo lighters from Ebay (the ones with flints go off). Get a dozen tins of butane from poundland and you are set fair for years.


Hill Dweller
Sep 17, 2003
What are the best matches then?

Ive got a couple of hundred british army stormproof matches. Boxes of kitchen matches, long matches, But thinking about it, not one strike anywhere match.

Whats the best before expiration date on strike anywhere matches? How long do they last?