I power my Escort Passport 8500 from the lighter outlet, and while it does seem a bit "finicky" (it needs to be pressed in a little extra), it works.I'm not a smoker, but those are good suggestions if the problem were the lighter. The actual problem is the lighter socket from which I am trying to power a Sirius radio. The two contacts are so close together that they short if the radio plug isn't put in perfectly.
This is only a temporary problem for me until I get my Kenwood A200 installed, but I was just wondering if anyone else had a similar issue.
Perhaps noone plugs anything into this socket (it does look like crap).