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When Jeff Williams arrived at Salt Lake City International Airport on Thursday afternoon, he had no idea that he wouldn't be able to bring his cigarette lighter on board. If Williams had known, he would have brought matches, he said, “because once I'm off that plane, I'm going to want a smoke.”

Williams, who was on his way to Chicago, did not hear about the new lighter ban until he went through airport security. The new federal regulation went into effect Thursday prohibiting butane lighters on airplanes for security reasons.

Passengers still can carry up to four booklets of matches onto airplanes.

But some, like Williams, hadn't heard of the regulation before arriving at the airport. He said if airports are taking away passengers' lighters, airports also should provide them once passengers exit airliners.

“I think it's pointless for them to restrict lighters but not matches,” Williams said. “Matches can do the same thing that lighters do.”

Utah native Dustin Scarlet, who was traveling to Las Vegas Thursday, said he did hear about the new prohibition and came prepared to the airport. “I brought my four books of matches,” he said.

As of 3 p.m. Thursday, about 450 lighters had been turned in to airport security.

“The lighters are not confiscated, they are abandoned,” said Ron Malin, deputy federal security director for the Transportation Security Administration. “It is not illegal to have lighters, it's just against security regulations. And people do have choices.”

Passengers can give away their lighters to those not traveling by plane, perhaps to family or friends, or they can take them back to their cars. But because of the low cost of lighters, most passengers just abandon them, Malin said.

Williams said giving up a cigarette lighter that costs under $1 is not a pocketbook issue but said he believes the federal government had crossed boundaries with the new measure.

“The government didn't want the terrorists to change us after 9/11, but they have. That line has been crossed,” he said, referring to the lighter ban, which he says is “out of control.”

But others feel differently.

“A lighter is as viable a weapon as are other prohibited items,” said Elissa Burley, on her way to San Diego.

Jan Ward, who was traveling to Denver, said she feels good about the government's security measures.

The genesis of the lighter ban began with the case of Richard Reid, who tried unsuccessfully to light a fire aboard a transAtlantic flight in 2001.

Though he used matches, some experts and politicians felt that with a lighter, Reid could have succeeded.