Launching this year's campaign, Mr Taylor said: 'Firework sales increased last year but injuries fell slightly.
'However, statistics from 1995 show illegal misuse in the street as the biggest single cause of injuries, up 12.5 per cent on the previous year, accounting for the majority of injuries occurring in the three weeks running up to bonfire night. Over 500 people attended hospital as a result of firework incidents in the streets and two thirds of them were children.
'I hope those who have sold fireworks to under 16s in the past will take a more responsible attitude in the future. I know that local authorities will sustain their efforts in reminding shop keepers of their responsibilities. I'd also like parents and teachers to join in and warn youngsters of the risks and tell them, 'Give Fireworks Respect'.
Mr Taylor also said he was examining the scope for improving controls on the availability of fireworks generally: 'Fireworks provide an enjoyable form of entertainment but I recognise that there are a number of widely shared concerns about the great variety and power of some types of fireworks now available to the public. I am conducting a consultation and interested individuals and organisations have been asked to make their views known. However, that process will take time and any changes will need to be put before parliament. But we all have a role in trying to reduce fireworks accidents and I firmly believe a vigorous and concerted publicity effort is an important part of this.'
This year's campaign includes: four million free leaflets at point of sale for fireworks buyers as well as leaflets aimed at retailers and public display organisers; over 5,000 outdoor poster sites across Britain; TV adverts featuring Frank Bruno, David Seaman and Jasper Carrott.
Under the theme 'Give Fireworks Respect', the campaign addresses the following issues: misuse of fireworks in the street: reading the instructions on fireworks: wearing gloves when handling sparklers.