Candy Smokes: Is This Cool With You?

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I recently swung through NYC’s largest, hippest candy store with my wife and a small gaggle of 10 year old girls. It was wonderous (I started vibrating just from the sugar in the air, lol).

Then we hit one section where we saw the display in the image you’re looking at.

Which made me wonder…

Why is it illegal to advertise cigarettes to kids in the U.S., but in a setting built for kids, it’s okay to sell a product that creates a clear positive association with smoking for kids?

Curious, what do YOU think?

Is this okay?

 

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73 responses

73 responses to “Candy Smokes: Is This Cool With You?”

  1. JLA says:

    Name of store & location should be shared, so concern parents can protest until they stop selling!

    Signed
    A concern parent!

  2. Mike CJ says:

    Yep, it’s OK Jonathan. I’m part of the generation that grew up with them when they were still called “Cigarette sweets” and we used the pretend we were grown up and smoking. I used to look out for them and loved them.

    But they didn’t turn me or many of my friends into smokers.

    • nora says:

      my sister and i used to ‘smoke’ these too. and neither of us smokes now.

      i don’t know – i don’t have kids so i can’t say how i’d feel if i did, but i don’t think they’ll turn children into smokers.

    • mganley says:

      I cannot agree more!! Candy cigarettes do not create smokers..and it is something created of a different time….how they are introduced and consistent quality parenting are a much greater concern for our children of the world that this candy store!

      Must admit I am also one of the oldies that grew up with candy cigarettes and they bring back cherished memories when eating them with my sister outdoors on a summer day. Sound atrocious and mindless now for 10 year olds to be given such a thing by adults (no doubt I was closer to 7 yo). It did little to turn us on to smoking (or excessive use of sugar)…it was simply something of the times. We rarely were given candy, ice cream or sweets other than Moms terrific baking of homemade cookies (for the old fashion school packed lunches), homemade waffles with ice cream (summer treat)…since candy was so rare we loved these & ate them far too fast to ever considering them as smoking (: Now, I after much study of nutrition and working as a professional in the field of health..sure candy cigarettes are a seemingly foolish gesture…but I agree whole heartedly that they alone encourage poor health behaviors.

  3. Geoff says:

    I had candy cigarettes growing up, and I don’t smoke.
    I don’t personally agree with selling the product, but I think images like “cool people” smoking in movies have a much greater impact than candy cigarettes on shelves.

    I watched an old movie last night and cigarette smoking was ubitiquitous. Now, in person and on TV/movies, smoking seems almost shocking.

    My memory says candy cigarettes tasted like lightly sweetened cardboard (maybe even like a stale “Lik-M-Aid” stick) and as a kid I quickly moved on to options I enjoyed more.

    Yes, a bad product to sell but parents should be accountable for what they buy for their kids, also.

    • Gia says:

      Likewise, I always loved candy cigarettes growing up, yet I have never smoked nor had any desire to smoke. Like other responses here, I can see how you would think it creates a bad connection, but in practice, I don’t know anyone that ever smoked because of having candy cigarettes. I haven’t seen them around for years, though, and I thought they didn’t exist anymore.

  4. Barbara says:

    NOT OK.

    And not to blame just the candy manufacturer – I’m surprised the candy store would also participate in this terrible messaging to kids by agreeing to sell this stuff.

  5. Well, here’s my memory. When I was a little kid — maybe around 7 or 8 years old I’m guessing — I can remember going to the drug store with my mom and seeing those packs of candy cigarettes. The chocolate ones were my favorites. I would beg her to buy me a ‘pack,’ and the deal she made with me was that she would as long as I promised never to smoke the real things when I grew up.

    I always remembered that promise.

    And though I admit to smoking a few puffs in high school, I never went down the tobacco road. And I think at least in some part it was due to that deal that my mom made with me.

    So… you never know. Everything can be used as a teaching moment, I think…

  6. Rebecca Young says:

    It is so not OK with me that my jaw dropped when I saw the photo. I have a three-year-old and the thought that he may someday be confronted by that type of advertising associated with smoking makes me furious. I wish parents would complain to the candy manufacturers (and I realize I could be one of those parents!). Thanks for raising the issue.

  7. Joyce says:

    Agree with you completely, Jonathan. These things must be “sponsored” by the tobacco industry.

  8. Yalanda says:

    I was in a retro/cheesy toy shop here is suburban Cleveland the other day and was surprised when I saw that candy “sticks’ were still available and asked myself the very same question.

    I remember buying the all of the time when I was a kid in the late 70’s. This is a positive an association with tobacco as you can make short of airing commercials for them doing the Saturday morning cartoon hours.

    But what startles me even more is that there is still a market for them. Why are parents still letting their kids have such things. The store owner that I visited argued that since his shop is a retro (lots of old toys and games) store, adults by them for themselves out of nostalgia. But like in your photo, the candy cigarettes are surrounded by regular candy. Go figure.

  9. It’s legal to sell candy cigs for the same reason it’s legal to sell real ones in any store a kid can walk into. I’m not sure your question is fully considered.

    • Jonathan Abel says:

      Good point. The real question here is not one of legality, but one of history and context. When these candies were created cigarettes did not carry the stigma they do today, and because of what we now know about the health risks of smoking, we now see them in a different light. As I recall the experience of eating the candy is nothing like smoking the real thing, so until cigarettes taste like candy, there shouldn’t be much confusion. Not everything leads to something.

  10. Gilliom says:

    For some reason, the smokes were not all that important to eight-year-old-me and my friends playing cop or private eye or superspy. Neither was the suit or “getting the girl”. The car, yes (mine was a Pontiac Firebird). And of course shooting the bad guy very dead. Repeatedly.

    It’s not the candy or the movie or the videogame or the satanic messages when you play the record backwards that are going to mess up the kids. It’s parents not doing their job caring for them and preparing them for life. Blaming some silly candy toy is too easy…

  11. Theresa says:

    Your view on this is absolutely right — they shouldn’t exist anymore. The way of the do-do… Our children shouldn’t be “playing” smoking if we do not want them to do it in the future. We teach them not to ingest poisonous substances like cleaning products — why would we do the opposite with cigarettes.

  12. Ryan says:

    Hmmm…Tough call. I think it’s a joke they aren’t called “candy cigarettes” when clearly that’s what they are; but I think of these as more of a novelty, more nostalgic for an older generation. A piece of candy Americana.

    I wouldn’t go as far as to say these lead to smoking. Other than in New York City, I think smoking is becoming taboo.

    As with anything else in life, it’s up the parents to educate their kids.

  13. It’s not cool at all. I actually remember having them as a kid, and only used them to get attention, as they tasted disgusting. I wonder if it is still a case of trying to emulate the parents, though (that’s why I used to get them.. to feel grown-up). With fewer people finding it acceptable, and it not being a social norm to smoke anymore, I wonder what the allure is.

  14. Sue says:

    Hi Jonathan,

    I find this disconcerting. As you correctly point out, this does create a definite positive association with smoking for kids,and I think it is a subtle way of encouraging kids to smoke. I noticed in the photo that some of the “brand names” of the candy cigarettes are not that far off the real brand names. (Although I’d be worried about a “brand” of candy cigarettes called Round Up for a host of other reasons! I’m surprised they haven’t been sued by certain biotech giants for that name choice.)

    We don’t sell soft drinks to kids in bottles designed to make them look like beer, wine, or other forms of alcoholic beverages, so why are we still selling candy “cigarettes” to kids?

  15. Don says:

    I am absolutely in favor of keeping a check on any marketing of tobacco to children, intentional or otherwise. On the other hand, looking at the package designs, they don’t seem to be the kind of imagery that would appeal to youngsters, and I don’t see anything that appears to be a knockoff of contemporary cigarette packaging. They look more like the kind of thing a nostalgic adult would collect. So if they weren’t displayed in a section with current kiddy fad candies, I’m OK with them.

  16. Chris Bruce says:

    I used to LOVE Popeye Candy Cigarettes as a kid. I would devour them box after box. As it turned out, I ended up smoking through my teenage years. Was this partly attributed to my childhood obsession? I don’t know. I think that it was more to do with peer pressure.

    But you uncover an interesting and disturbing topic. As a father with kids of my own, I know how impressionable they are. Living in Canada I haven’t seen a display such as the one that you’ve posted, but I do know that there are some of these Candy “Sticks” in the stores.

    Personally I think that any attempt to condition children in this manner is beyond reproach. It would be interesting to find out if the cigarette manufacturers are behind this at all!

  17. Absolutely not. Kids watch what we do and mimic that. It’s why we can’t just tell them how to behave but not hold ourselves to that standard.

    It’s why my husband and I don’t drink alcohol. Period. And I’ve asked my immediate family not to drink around my children.

    Cigarettes, wine, beer – all these things are so heavily imbued with the aura of adulthood, sophistication, good times and relaxation, celebration, socializing and more. It’s amazing we expect kids to resist their siren calls, calls that we’ve created, sustained and often promoted.

    This candy shop is an extreme example – but what else do we display as “adult” stuff, off-limits to kids and only make them more tempting and exciting because of it?

  18. Joy says:

    When my son was a little boy, he wanted to play with toy guns. Believing in non-violence, I refused to buy him any… so he would find sticks in the woods in a pistol shape, and use them to go “bang bang”.

    I think it’s the consistent messages from human role models that have the greatest influence on our children. Point at the candy sticks and say “ugh” and no doubt the respect you already built with these kids, mutually, will take over.

  19. Does anyone really think that their children are so mentally and emotionally weak that candy cigarettes are going to “encourage” them to smoke? Are you serious?

    Your kids’ minds are not made of glass, first of all. Second, children emulate and play what they see others doing around them to large degree. Playing is learning. Daddy has guns, people shoot guns on TV, kid plays with toy guns.

    Daddy doesn’t smoke, nobody the kid knows smokes, kid doesn’t see much smoking on TV compared to the old days, kid probably isn’t gonna grow up to be a smoker and those candy cigarettes just aren’t gonna have a hold over him. No example or context for it.

    Stop with the hand-wringing.

    • Phil Stanoch says:

      Michael,

      Yours are all valid points. While I don’t feel candy cigarettes are going to make kids smokers, I still don’t the to have anything that makes them think smoking is cool or fun.

  20. Oh, my God, I didn’t even know they still made those! I remember as kids my mom FLIPPING OUT when she found us with a pack of those and us really NOT grasping the big deal. They were candy, not real cigarettes, what’s the big deal?

    As someone who smoked for 17 years & now a mom, I admit I’d flip out too if I saw my little one pretending to smoke!

    (PS- While I think the candy cigs are a bad idea, I don’t think they contributed to my taking up smoking in high school. I think family members and friends smoking were the real influences.)

  21. chatty says:

    Usually the adults are the ones who make things “bad”. Kids don’t think the same way. Toy guns/swords don’t make kids killers. Just like candy ciggs. don’t make them smokers. If you don’t allow kids to “Play” or make believe the bad guys…guess what’s gonna happen! Yes, they’re going to go for the real thing when they’re let loose!

  22. Zane Safrit says:

    It’s a little clever, a little wink-wink. Kinda like a mischievous child, really.

    I grew up with these as a kid in NC when Tobacco was king. We all knew they were candy. We all knew they were silly. We were silly, playing like our parents some of whom smoked, huffing on these sticks and puffing out the fake smoke.

    I think kids are still smart enough to see these are what they are: silly candies that mock the silly things adults still can do.

    Plus, you’re with your kids. They have a good role model for diet, behavior, values and thinking for themselves.

    The combination just reinforces the silliness of adult smoking. That’s better than any ad campaign or any law prohibiting the ads of Big Tobacco.

    • E says:

      I also grew up in NC and thought these things were ridiculous, even as a child. Ridiculous and kind of edgy-cool. And I think that’s their selling point now.

      As a kid, I gravitated toward anything that seemed to trouble my parents. To a certain sort of inquiring mind, forbidding and suppressing stuff such as this just makes it seem more exciting. Better to let grown folks (in this case the ironic NYC hipsters who would buy these things in 2011) have their smirking fun and use these instances to have a straight, no-BS, no-hysterics conversation with kids about why, for instance, smoking is a high-cost, low-yield proposition, and being part-owned by tobacco corporations doesn’t make you a rebel.

      If parents everywhere could deal with these things calmly and realistically, it would eventually put the tobacco industry and a lot of “shock” entertainers out of business. But that’s not in our Puritan, “Satan, I rebuke thee” DNA, I fear.

  23. Lee Lefton says:

    Jonathan,

    This takes me way, way back to my childhood in the 50s. Candy cigarettes were rampant and we all “smoked” them. I’m sure that was to emulate our parents and even our doctors.

    The house always stank. My mother smoked in the car with the windows closed. Then in ’98, she died a horrible death from lung cancer.

    Are candy cigarettes okay? Surely that’s rhetorical.

    Great posts always, by the way.

  24. We used to have these where I grew up in New Zealand. The candy wasn’t very tasty though, so they weren’t a popular buy amongst my 3 foot peers.

    The weird thing though is that I can remember collectively condemning the kids who did buy them and pretend to “puff” them …. even as youngsters we all knew that to do so was to be a “try hard” or “wannabe”. Even 7yr olds know when you’re just doing something to try and be cool.

    Funny how only some of us kept that perspective when we were sixteen and posing with REAL smokes was an option.

  25. dave r. says:

    “much ado about nothing”…i grew up with candy cigarettes that had a wrapper and the stick was chocolate…others were bubble gum…some were hard candy…ive never been a smoker…i have never liked cigarette smoking…personally i think our “pc society” has gone way overboard.

  26. Roy Jacobsen says:

    I grew up with these readily available in my small-town grocery store, along with bubble-gum cigars. I don’t smoke; the few times I tried it, I decided it tasted too nasty to make it worth while. Guess I wasn’t in a hurry to prove myself either a grown up or a rebel.

    Instead of asking if candy cigarettes are OK or not, maybe it would be better to ask why, when it’s illegal to advertise tobacco to kids (as you noted), when it’s becoming more and more of a hassle to be a smoker (e.g., no smoking zones), when we’ve been hearing for years now how harmful and nasty smoking is, why do kids start smoking in the first place?

  27. Angelwins says:

    Well, I disagree with you, Mike!
    I, too, grew up in the era where smoking was advertised. Doctors and nurses smoked. All the big Hollywood stars and “cool” people did it, and I even now remember a few of the commercial jingles! My friends and I bought the candy cigarettes and enjoyed our pretended coolness.
    Most of us did go on to smoke real cigarettes and developed real health concerns associated with smoking.
    I myself began having chest pains four years ago and had to put down the cigarettes for good. I was addicted to nicotine and it was hard to do.
    It is true that if you grow up in a society that condones or even just tolerates a certain behavior or activity, you are prone to engage in that behavior or activity.
    America has been schizophrenic about tobacco for a number of years now. We have exorbitant taxes on tobacco products and we have anti-smoking education and programs, we prohibit smoking in most public areas, yet the government gives subsidies to tobacco growers and allows the sale of candy cigarettes to kids.
    Would it be OK if the store had candy booze? How about a white powder cocaine candy?
    Just because an addictive substance is legal does not mean it is less harmful than those addictive substances we are legally barred from purchasing in most places.
    Tobacco in all its forms is harmful to everyone and most especially to developing children.
    Shame on that vendor for selling such a product!

    • I’m on the Not OK side for sure for a variety of reasons:

      Even if you don’t believe that it directly encourages kids to smoke, that kids are smarter than that, why would you even want to encourage that behavior? It isn’t a positive habit, period the end. Why emulate or seek to copy it in any way? I would assume most adults/parents want to encourage our kids to have positive self images, when would a cig hanging out of their mouth, fake or not be a positive image?

      There are hundreds of tasty treats available, thousands of ways for kids to have fun, to play pretend and to do the things their role models do. Smoking has no positive reason to be on that list.

    • Yeah I used to smoke cigarettes, too. But not because of candy ones. I think it would be a shame if the vendor didn’t sell them. How could they be a complete old-time candy store without them? Now THAT would be wrong.

      You may not realize it but this is the same kind of hysterical non-thinking that leads to censorship, book-burning and prohibition (and we all know how well that turned out). Get a grip and cherish the freedom. And teach your kids to do the same.

  28. Rebecca says:

    yes it’s absolutely fine. Because, see – they’re not ciggies! They’re CANDY.

  29. Brent Reader says:

    I think it’s harmless. I remember buying candy cigarettes at the county fair when I was 10 or 11. Then my friends and I ran around with them hanging out of our lips and offering some to pretty girls. Not one of us grew up to become smokers.

  30. Julie K says:

    Of course it’s ok!!!

    are toy guns ok? toy bacon?

    1. if you don’t want them, don’t buy them.
    2. these are clearly not for the kids – in the “hipster” store they are aimed at the adults that remember them — and a time when childhood wasn’t so ridiculously overprotected and overcontrolled.
    3. they are not being sold at babies R us

    What the current princess franchise and obsession with celebrity, fame and beauty will do to your daughters is way scarier than fake cigarettes that look like they are from the fifties.

  31. I absolutely LOVED candy and gum cigarettes as a kid. I remember pretending to smoke with my older brother. We also shot cap guns, which we wore in our holsters.

    I never picked up smoking. My brother has smoked for years. We have very different lifestyles. I’m into raw food. He’s . . . not. Did the candy cigarettes have anything to do with our choices? Probably not. But I think it’s pretty stupid to make them available to kids.

    We pretended to smoke with lollipop sticks, made fake guns out of tree branches, and spun ourselves dizzy so we could play drunk–all things we saw on television and in the movies.

    Kids will go where their imaginations lead them. They don’t need adults to give them tacit approval of these behaviors by providing the tools.

  32. Mike CJ says:

    To add to my initial comment. I’m put in mind of one of the reasons I moved to this little island in The Atlantic 12 years ago. And that was to get my kids away from an environment that was full of rules, regulations and asinine laws banning anything and everything that could be perceived by someone as remotely dangerous or harmful.

    I’m very proud that they have now grown up as intelligent, articulate, confident young people. And above all, who are able to make their own decisions in life, without constantly having to refer to “the rule book” or look for guidance from some kind of authority figure.

    I can’t speak for the US, but young people I meet from mainland Europe aren’t in the same league as the kids I see here everyday who are growing up in an environment where they aren’t wrapped in cotton wool.

    It might seem a big leap to make, but talking about legislating against things like sweet cigarettes is the think end of a very deep wedge.

    And by the way, neither of my kids smoke, despite loving that candy. But that was their decision.

  33. Mike CJ says:

    Typos! Sorry! “Thin end of the wedge”

    PS Jonathan – can’t you set up comment edit? 🙂

  34. These were my absolute FAVORITE candy as a kid. Same with my younger brother. Neither of us are smokers as adults, because we come from a family of nonsmokers that teaches their children that smoking is terrible. So- while looking at this picture creeps me out and makes me wonder how that is legal, I am living proof that real parenting still can outweigh marketing messages. I think you could even use these as a segway into having a discussion with your child about smoking.

  35. laura roeder says:

    I was born in the 80s (that is to say, I’m young) and I still remember my friend dressing as a “cigarette girl” for halloween when she was in elementary school! (A girl who works at a bar handing out cigarettes – she had candy ones for the occasion.)

    My how times have changed! And NO I don’t think candy cigs are OK. I mean I don’t think they should be banned but seriously who thinks its a good idea to make their living this way?

  36. Oh and let’s all not forget that video games cause violence, too.

  37. Mary Coyne says:

    Of course this is not all right. For every three children who take up the smoking habit, one will die of a tobacco-related illness. This is the insidious work of the tobacco industry which has been forbidden from marketing directly to children, yet they always find a way around the rules.

  38. Hi Jonathan,

    I remember being a kid and purchasing some of those candy cigarettes with my lunch money. Back in those days, there was more innocense regarding marketing stuff to kids. Today, no question that the money behind those candy sticks has pockets lined with the initials of companies we would all recognize.

    You are seeing something blatantly wrong aimed at your daughter and her friends wondering how is this allowed? Where are the regulatory agencies designed to protect our children?

    It gets much worse Jonathan. Several decades ago the percentage of children diagnosed with autism was 1 in 10,000. A decade later that number skyrocketed to 1 in about 400. About 5 years later the number jumped to 1 in 160, then a few years later to 1 in 106…and just several weeks ago a new Korean study…shocker….1 in 35 children being diagnosed with autism!

    So, what happens when in a few more years the rate of autism jumps to 1 in 15, and eventually hits 1 in 10~~~~~?

    This is the future generation of young people who we are counting on to take over for those retiring…to pick up the slack and continuing paying on our ever expanding national debt…right???

    Why are all these kids developing neurological behavioral issues? Why are 30% of American children already obese?…. and those numbers are going to continuing skyrocketing just like with autism. When your family draws a hot bath this evening the municipal water source that you feel comfortable using because the FDA has your back right??? Sorry to inform you that your drinking, cooking and bathing water is loaded with all kinds of toxic environmental chemicals that your municipal water dept simply cannot afford to effectively filter out.

    The safety guidelines for water quality have never been updated since the early 70’s. Why you ask? Simple…the level of environmental toxins have increases so dramatically, every municipal water system in the country would fail miserbly resulting in an outrage from the public consciousness. Those currently in charge at the EPA would catch hell…so best to let a sleeping dog lie!

    BTW…are you aware that the EPA has just a mere 90 days to research and evaluate any new chemical going into the manufacturing process… the current regulatory laws on the books were drafted by lobbiest on behalf of giant chemical companies…that now require the EPA to provide “proof” that any new chemical is dangerous…or forever hold their peace. Chemicals have rights just like you and I do. Innocent… until proven guilty. There are no regulatory laws that require any manufacture to test and evaluate any new chemical for toxicity, etc.

    The skyrocketing problem with autism has the same underlying root case as that of our pending obesity epidemic…it’s whats in the food you consume daily and the water you are drinking and bathing in 24 / 7.

    I wrote an article about a year ago called…How To Survive Environmental Toxis in Municipal Water…

    EA

  39. Bridget says:

    My brother used to roll his candy smokes up into the sleeve of his t-shirt. We loved looking very cool and slightly rebel with our candy smokes.

    A local candy store sells them here in Portland too, and my kid who is 13, saw them and his reaction was “That’s really weird.”

    Back in the 70’s when I was a kid in a mostly blue collar town, people smoked. In Portland, it’s rare for cigarettes.

    I think if someone came out with a candy joint, people in Portland would be a bit up in arms, but candy smokes are just a tasty chalky retro anomaly.

  40. Judy says:

    Totally cool. We got them as treats when we were kids maybe once a year–had great fun with them.

    Never been a ‘smoker’ tried it a few times off and on throughout the years, but it was more ‘cuz everyone else was doing it, not because I had a candy cigarette when I was 10.

    We never had candy cocktails as kids, but there was a long stretch when my drinking was completely out of control.

  41. Ha! I remember eating these as a kid. I started smoking when i was 15 but that was more to do with rebellion than overly sweet candy sticks eaten in the late 70s 🙂 It does seem a bit stupid to sell candy like this, when the message is ‘smoking is bad for you’ (and it is, obv — i finally quit two years ago) but i find the glamorisation of violence that’s all over the TV, film and video games these days far more questionable than these sweets.

  42. Grace Mendez says:

    As I read most of the threads, most of the comments were only addressing the cigarette advertising – pro or con. My question is more about giving the kids sugar. I don’t really care about the carrier, I care more about what we are feeding the kids (and us).

  43. stacey says:

    I don’t see anything wrong with it. In our house we “make fun” of things like smoking and drinking too much alcohol. It the eyes of my children, it is play and they are acting out just how uncool it is to really smoke.. I believe the more “taboo” something is and the more it is hidden from our children, the more fascinated they become. We keep it out in the open, no fascination, all silliness! So far its working.

  44. Cory says:

    Hmm…sugar…cigarettes…don’t think it matters all that much; practically the pot calling the kettle black

  45. Fred Leo says:

    Man I loved candy cigarettes as I kid. Does anyone remember the ones that had powered sugar that blew out the end?

    I don’t think it is that bad to sell them, but I can see how you would.

  46. You think that’s bad? My other favorite from the 50s was candy pills. I’m sure they are still being sold someplace. I also wore a toy gun and holster set every place I went from ages 3-5. I’ve never had a real gun in my adult life.
    I did smoke real cigarettes from age 15-23, but I don’t believe it was caused by my early exposure to candy cigarettes, but more from wanting to fit in with the other bad-ass cheerleaders.
    Peer pressure was the real boogeyman for me.

  47. RosemaryA says:

    I, too, remember buying candy cigarettes as a child…I don’t smoke; both my parents stopped smoking; I cannot think of one close friend or cousin who does because we have come to know and understand the dire effects on our health. But, I digress. There’s more to my recollection: We did this to act like “the grown ups.”

    I can think of at least four wonderful premier candy shops in NYC — and I find it hard to believe that one of them would feature these. But, then again, are some of these stores really “for kids” — or adults who want to be kids again?

    We need to be careful about sending mixed messages to our children. That is the more important issue here.

  48. Liz says:

    I, too, was part of the generation that regularly bought these at the store. But that was before the surgeon general’s reports about how bad cigarettes are for you. Cigarettes were a part of our lives with smoking allowed everywhere. I work with young kids and don’t think that any correlation between smoking and kids is a good idea.

  49. Kane says:

    I’m OK with them… they taste like crap.

    Let’s make them taste even worse and then hand them out in classes. Maybe it will help kids realize that real cigarettes taste like crap, too.

  50. Duffboy says:

    Much more than the candy smokes (which they were imported to Guatemala when I was growing up), I believe the big brands of chocolate (available in any candy store, not just vintage ones) candy bars are far more damaging. Most of them are manufactured with the help of child trafficking and child slavery in the Ivory Coast and other regions. Food for thought, no pun intended.

  51. Rita Vail says:

    I loved these as a kid. It has been harder for me to kick the sugar habit than the tobacco one.

  52. Natasha says:

    Ok –
    Sometimes I really believe we have seriously progressed i.e. littering, educational advances, technology in children’s lives, etc.; and then I immediately begin to feel we ‘wussify’ our kids a bit too much…

    The main thing we must all do with our children (me and my diva-esque two year old little girl included) is teach them how to think – which is by far the most valuable gift these days that you can give any child.

    One of your above comments was absolutely correct when she stated that this is a great teaching opportunity.

    The FREEDOMS awarded to that American candy store and people young and old to buy candy cigarettes and other real tobacco products at other stores are the freedoms I intend to make sure that my child learns that she has. I will also be teaching her the consequences that result from smoking, just like any other parent who wishes their kid never takes a puff, in the sincere hope I never catch her grey faced with other girls and an open pack of Marlboros.

    All in all, American parents have to intelligently tread a delicate balance – no, I never want you to smoke; yes, people have the freedom to sell and buy what they want all around you and hopefully always will; no, everyone around us will not always live like mommy wants them to; yes, I want you to always make good, healthy decisions; no, not everyone you know will make healthy decisions; yes, you will be around other people who will make very different decisions than you will ever make; no, just because they do, it doesn’t make them any less human than you; and yes, that’s what will make you a great young woman one day and it is also what makes the world, THE WORLD, :>

  53. Freedom means having the freedom to make bad decisions. The freedom to make bad decisions leads to making good decisions through hard-won experience. You can’t take the pain out of that process without also taking the value out of it.

  54. I really wonder if in 20 years from now, people will frown on fast food resembling plastic toys the same way they frown upon this. Will eating unhealthily become as taboo as smoking some day?
    The two may seem totally separate, but have a lot in common: bad for health, heavily advertised, marketing to kids, toll on public health.

    Or do you think I’m way off here?

  55. Dave Rowley says:

    I’m against these cigarette candies being available for children. There’s evidence of collusion between the manufacturers of these products and the tobacco companies. I’m for children having the freedom to buy candy, but against tobacco companies having the freedom to create harm to minors.

  56. Scrollwork says:

    It’s reassuring to read from the ones who grew up with these and didn’t take up smoking. It’s sensible to note that the responsibility falls squarely on parents, that it’s a teachable moment (although I won’t go so far as to “point to them and say ‘Ugh’ because calling attention to them seems counterintuitive to our desire to keep the children away from them.)

    My thought: the blogging/commenting demographic seems more aware, mindful, thoughtful about messages and implications than the non-blogging/commenting populace. So what may be all right for us and our children may be a stumbling block for others.

  57. Jaye says:

    Sugar, Tobacco, unhealthy vices all.

  58. Evelyn says:

    Right or wrong…it’s just disgusting!

  59. I definitely think it’s A OK – I grew up with cool candy smokes and never smoked in my life!!!! It’s all choices and it’s ultimately our own choice to smoke in life – candy cigarettes or not….

    In gratitude to my non smoking,
    Nancy

  60. Nikki says:

    I think it’s fine. I grew up with them back when parents were responsible for teaching their children instead of relying on banning things and government to do it for them.

  61. Denee King says:

    When I was 6 years old I told my dad to either stop smoking or I was running away from home. He stopped!
    About that same age I was in a convenience store that sold candy cigarettes and I just went into a televangelist-esque tirade and told the poor guy working behind the counter that this was a very bad example for children and he would probably have to go to jail if anyone found out what he was selling.
    My opinion hasn’t changed at all although I believe my approach to ignorance has (oops….what did I just say?)

  62. Joy M. says:

    NOT. cool. at. all.

  63. Dervin says:

    Get over it.
    If this is the candy store I’m thinking of, this is a store for adults, not children. A retro candy store. Selling Retro candy cigarettes.

    But candy cigarettes don’t turn children into smokers any more than root beer turns kids into alcoholics.