General Question

ibstubro's avatar

Why is it still legal to sell candy cigarettes in the US?

Asked by ibstubro (18765points) July 5th, 2015

Source shows the origins of the product.
Freaking Walmart isn’t even pandering to a tradition or cute.

Disclosure: I loved the gum cigars as a kid, and I knew no one that smoked cigars.

Anyone have information on the practices of other countries?

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34 Answers

keobooks's avatar

While they aren’t banned, I believe that brick and mortar grocery and convenience stores either can’t or won’t sell them. I have only seen them for sale at candy stores that specialize in nostalgia candy. They seem to be surrounded by other old fashioned candies that kids of today would deem too gross to eat. Old people love buying their old candies, though. Other than those stores, I’ve only seen them for sale online.

I had the gum cigars as a kid. The gum was very tasty—except for the banana. Ick ick ick. I never bothered pretending to smoke them. I just loved that gum. The candy cigarettes were nasty and cheap. They were too gross to pretend to smoke.

Bubblegum cigarettes on the other hand. Oh I loved to pretend to smoke those. Each piece of gum came wrapped in paper just like a real cigarette. When you blew into one end, a cloud of powdered sugar came out the other end. It looked like real smoke!

dappled_leaves's avatar

I live in Canada, and haven’t seen them in years. Apparently, they are still legal as long as the packaging doesn’t look like cigarette packaging (whatever that means). Maybe I just don’t see them because I don’t shop for candy the way I did when I was a kid.

They can still say “candy cigarettes” on the pack, so I don’t see how the look of the packaging is an improvement.

In Nunavut (a Canadian Arctic territory), it is illegal to sell them, period.

ibstubro's avatar

This question was inspired by the fact that I saw bubblegum cigarettes for sale at Big Lots in the Midwest US.

Never heard of the powdered sugar ‘smoke’, @keobooks. Can you say “shotgun”, boys and girls??

I can only guess co-branded, like the show in my first link, @dappled_leaves. Packaged with the same name as actual cigarettes.

dappled_leaves's avatar

I don’t know if they were ever sold here, @ibstubro. Or maybe they used to be in other parts of the country. We had the Popeye kind, and I think a couple of others. I don’t recall seeing gum cigarettes or cigars here.

But yeah, my point was that even if Popeyes don’t look like a grown-up cigarette pack, they’re very clearly (literally, even!) meant to be used as play cigarettes. It’s incredible to me that we allow that.

keobooks's avatar

When I was a kid, the candy cigarettes were very similar, but not identical to real brands of cigarettes. I remember the Lucky Srikes, Camel and Marlboro ones. Now they have packaging that looks vaguely official looking, but the logo and name isn’t based off a real brand. The candy tips are also no longer pink. The tips were dyed to represent the burning cherry at the end of a cigarette. Now they are just nasty white candy sticks.

ibstubro's avatar

Popeye’s in Canada.
Thanks, @dappled_leaves

Just one off brand names, @keobooks. Are you sure they can no longer pink the tips?

keobooks's avatar

I don’t know if they aren’t allowed to do it by law. But I don’t think they do it anymore. In 2010 Popeyes brand stopped doing it.

I haven’t checked myself because that would involve actually buying it. For a cheap and nasty barely edible candy, they are pretty expensive. I’m not forking over money to look at candy too horrible to eat.

You’re probably paying for all that nostalgia.

bestbroseph's avatar

One reason they aren’t banned, abs the main reason >> They’re Candy.

longgone's avatar

They’re still sold in Germany, complete with powdered sugar “smoke”.

@ragingloli Are they? Why?

ragingloli's avatar

because they have toys inside.

bestbroseph's avatar

@ragingloli not illegal everywhere, just the states. Because apparently kids are too dumb now to know the difference between plastic and chocolate

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Maybe because those slimy bastards at Big Tobacco will use it as a ploy to hook kids on smoking and take away future customers away from the booze industry and lessen the amount of future alcoholics that will need to spend a boat load of money on detox and treatment. ~~

Response moderated (Unhelpful)
keobooks's avatar

Yes, because people who smoke don’t drink alcohol. Of course

JLeslie's avatar

I loved those bubble gum cigarettes when I was a kid. I didn’t know they still exist. Do kids still think smoking is cool and a grown up thing to do?

josie's avatar

They don’t contain carcinogens

osoraro's avatar

Why should they be?

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

It’s candy that’s why. May as well ban big league chew since it also mimicks tobacco. It’s pretty rare to see them though.

osoraro's avatar

And they taste horrible. I always hated candy cigarettes and thought they were stupid.

ibstubro's avatar

I don’t think they’d allow you to package apple juice in ½ pint bottles and name it “Hootch”.
I don’t think they’d allow you to sell candy one-hitters where you inhaled the powered sugar smoke.
Sweet Tart anyone?
Squeeze candy in a handy single-serve plastic syringe?

When I was a kid we had cap guns and candy cigarettes. They seem to have rethought the realistic cap gun part.

bestbroseph's avatar

You can still get cap guns.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Cap guns are still made into replicas just with a red tip.

ibstubro's avatar

Cap guns are not nearly as realistic as when I was a kid, and how does the fact that they are still sold justify selling candy cigarettes?

bestbroseph's avatar

Well here’s the thing, why do candy cigarettes matter anyway? If you’re trying to suggest they set children on a path toward smoking, I don’t believe that. Now if they were in an atmosphere where smoking was normal (I.e parents smoke) in combination with the candy, them it is fully possible. But by themselves no. How could eating candy cigarettes cause I want of tobacco products? And in this day and age, if you just want the action, vapes are available, and many flavors can be chosen from. So, in response to the question, why should they be banned?

ibstubro's avatar

Target market for candy cigarettes, @bestbroseph (smokers) and do the candy cigarettes reinforce the smoking message for their kids?

Do you think non-smokers are buying candy cigarettes? And giving them to the kiddies?

dappled_leaves's avatar

@ibstubro I think kids are buying them for themselves. When we were kids, it was fun to use them to mimic the “cool” actions of smoking a cigarette. Part of that fun was the secrecy of it. We would never think of asking our parents to buy them for us. Marketing a candy to children for that purpose is basically obscene.

ibstubro's avatar

Well, both my parents smoked, and of their 3 kids I was the last to start and the only one to quit. I’m guessing they ‘didn’t see the harm’, @dappled_leaves & @bestbroseph, and bought us candy cigarettes freely. So we could ‘pretend to smoke’.
I much preferred the gum cigars.

Carbonated juice is available, but not marketed to kids as a toy version of wine, beer or spirits. Imagine if parents were able to able to purchase 6 packs of “Vine” so their kids could mimic being falling down drunk.

bestbroseph's avatar

@ibstubro, root beer, cheerwine. But when it comes to alcoholic drinks, getting drunk is going too far. You can drink one beer and be fine. You don’t have to pretend you have lung cancer and are dying when you “smoke” candy cigarettes. I never smoked, never plan to. But I had those candy cigarettes. And I would give my kids them. And what about sparkling juice? It mimics champagne, and its specifically made so children can join in the celebration on new years.

dappled_leaves's avatar

@ibstubro Wow, that’s interesting. I haven’t seen that dynamic before.

ibstubro's avatar

Root beer is not an imitation of beer, but the the modern day embodiment of a once alcoholic beverage, @bestbroseph. As is birch beer. Butter beer is available locally, and I’m unclear as to its relation to Harry Potter.
I enjoy drinking sparkling juice and I’ve never seen it marketed to children. Or sparkling lemonade. Personally I would hesitate to substitute sparkling juice for wine at a children’s celebration for the same reason I’d never buy a kid candy cigarettes – they’re both things that are adult choices made by adults.

Yeah, @dappled_leaves, we didn’t just chomp our candy cigarettes, we nibbled them so they would grow shorter, ‘flicked’ them, and balanced them on the edge of furniture so that the ‘fire’ wouldn’t ‘burn’ anything. We played smoking – just like mom and dad. Living in the country we graduated to ‘smoking’ lengths of ‘horse weed’, chiefly because the dead plants were filled with a pith that closely resembled cigarette filters.

dappled_leaves's avatar

@dappled_leaves Sure, as I described, we did that, too. But our parents were non-smokers. I never imagined smoking parents encouraging their kids to do the same.

keobooks's avatar

I can only find this article referring to the product, but it doesn’t mention the name brand. But in the late 80s, there was a company that packaged juice in a plastic gun. To drink it, you stuck the barrel of the gun in your mouth and pulled the trigger. I think it was likely the stupidest idea for a product ever. I’m sure it’s not illegal to remake that product, but who would want to?

I don’t think any candy has been pulled off the market aside from choking hazard in a very long time. I also think kids don’t have the means to go buy candy unsupervised like they used to. I wouldn’t be surprised if most of that candy being sold wasn’t sold to adults in a nostalgia kick or trying a cheap way to quit smoking.

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