When we talk about lighters, we’re talking about the disposable “BIC” lighters that you can find sitting on the counter of any convenience store. Those inexpensive lighters are one of the easiest ways of starting a fire that exist. The only drawback to them is that they require dexterity to use then matches. There have actually been cases of people who have died of hypothermia, even though they had a butane lighter, simply because their hands were too cold to be able to operate the lighter.
Butane lighters don’t work well in cold weather. The flash point of butane (the temperature at which it turns to a gas) is low enough that cold weather can prevent it from turning into a gas. Since this is necessary for the lighter to work, they don’t work well in below freezing temperatures. Of course, this can be resolved by keeping the lighter inside your clothes, next to your skin.
Using a lighter with fuel—Of course, it’s much easier to use the lighter if it has fuel in it. With careful use, making every spark count, you should be able to start over 1,000 fires with a single butane lighter. More than anything, that means having good tinder ready, before you strike the lighter. There’s no sense in striking the lighter to see if it works, if you don’t have the tinder ready to burn.
Lighters can be useful for starting a fire. The flint and steel striking mechanism will produce a spark, which can be used to start your tinder burning. Granted, this is not an easy way to start a fire, but it’s better than throwing the lighter away and not having anything to start a fire with. You can also harvest the flint from the lighter and strike it against other metal objects, such as a knife, to create sparks.