\u00a0 The BIC pocket lighter is turning 40. BIC, a Shelton-based manufacturer of stationery products, lighters and shavers, is celebrating the lighter\u2019s 40th birthday with a series of promotions and contests to help commemorate the milestone, including a contest that asked consumers to create their own lighter designs. Every day around the world, consumers choose to buy more than six million BIC lighters\u00a0 \u2014 and many of them are manufactured at the company\u2019s Milford plant. Company has 400 workers in state The company employs nearly 400 people in Connecticut, at its North American headquarters in Shelton, and lighter manufacturing and fuel cell research and development facilities in Milford. Many local organizations have benefited from the community involvement of the company and its employees. The company marked the lighter\u2019s anniversary at a \u201cFlicktacular\u201d celebration, with Shelton Mayor Mark Lauretti among the local dignitaries present. Introduced in 1973 In 1973, BIC launched its first BIC butane lighter, which quickly became a household staple in homes throughout the world, company officials said. Demand for the product was so great that the company began to produce lighters out of the Milford facility in 1974, where production remains robust today. Since introduction of what was originally called the disposable lighter, more than 15 billion BIC lighters have been sold in more than 160 countries worldwide. Contest winners visit the area BIC invited consumers to celebrate its 40th birthday by entering the BIC \u201cBest of You\u201d contest. Consumers created their own BIC lighter designs. The top 11 winners were publicly announced at the March 11 \u201cFlicktacular\u201d\u00a0event held at the BIC Lighter manufacturing facility in Milford. The winners, who came from all over the United States, were flown into New York City for the weekend and had the opportunity to visit the BIC lighter facility to see their lighter designs being applied to BIC\u00a0lighters. In addition to Lauretti, this week\u2019s \u201cFlickacular\u201d event also was attended by state Economic Development Commissioner Catherine Smith; Milford Mayor Benjamin Blake; state Sen. Gayle Slossberg and state Rep. Larry Miller. Winning designs to hit stores soon \u201cWe are celebrating our lighter\u2019s 40th\u00a0birthday in a big way, and we\u2019re looking forward to the winning designs being available at retail locations in March through August of this year,\u201d said Mark Funderburk, BIC brand manager of pocket lighters. \u201cThis is a very exciting time for our company, and we\u2019re thrilled to be able to share it with our consumers.\u201d BIC officially kicked off the Lighter\u2019s 40th birthday \u201cFlicktacular\u201d celebration late last year when Special Edition designs were selected by consumers atflicktacular.flickyourbic.com. Each birthday design features a 40th\u00a0birthday emblem. Special Edition series with prizes BIC also launched its 40th birthday golden-hood Special Edition series birthday lighters, which includes the three top-selling Special Edition designs \u2014 Tattoos, Flick My BIC and Favorites. From March through August, lighters in these limited edition series will have a game code that consumers can enter online through facebook.com\/bicflickers for instant-win prizes and a chance to win the ultimate grand prize, an upscale trip to Las Vegas for four people. Find out more about the company at bicworldusa.com.