You Know You Are Going to Hell If…

Candy Cigarettes - Just What the Pediatrician Ordered!…you market candy cigarettes to kids.  I was walking down the street next to Hoboken’s Church Square Park when I noticed these two white cartons on the sidewalk (see image).  I think I understand the salesman’s logic: get kids to associate the pack of cigarettes (replete with real names of cigarette brands, Lucky Strike, and Victory, e.g.) with joy.  After all, every kid loves candy, right?

I remember we used to buy candy cigarettes in Florida when I went to visit my grandfather.  The “cigarettes” were really long tubes of chewable gum wrapped in paper, and if you puffed on them a bit of powdered sugar blew out the other end, simulating smoke (you could only get one good puff).  But one day we couldn’t buy these “fun” cigarettes anymore and my little brain was very upset at the whole ordeal.  Later, when the greater significance dawned on my less-naive mind, I assumed that candy cigarettes weren’t available anymore because of their obvious attempt to addict children.  But no!

This is only candy. No need to worry.Across the country politicians are wining about second-hand smoke and passing Draconian laws that prevent people from smoking inside private restaurants and bars, meanwhile a company called World Confections, Inc. (Brooklyn, NY 11232, website mysteriously under construction) is underhandedly working, no doubt with a little kick from the tobacco industry, to get our kids hooked at a young age.

And — this truly happened — as I picked up the candy packs from the pavement and examined them in my hands a young man nearby looked oddly in my direction and lifted a small white box to his lips.  I saw that the white tube now jutting from his mouth was not made of gum at all.  I wondered if his fetish began as a child while blowing bits of powdered sugar into the air with joy.

3 Replies to “You Know You Are Going to Hell If…”

  1. I had candy cigarettes as a kid. I didn’t like the bubble gum ones, but preferred the white chalky sweet ones with the drop of red food coloring on the end that replicated the glowing tip. I also watched television as a child and saw the TV shows with people smoking. Movies back then were full of people puffing away on cigarettes and cigars, and I watched them as a child and took it all in. I also grew up in a house with a father that smoked (and still does) cigars and pipes. My grandparents that I visited on a regular basis and spent weeks at a time with during the summers were all cigarette smokers.

    But I didn’t grow up wanting to smoke. It never entered my mind.

    Why? Because if I had started smoking, my father – who has never raised a hand in anger towards me in my life – would have beat my ass senseless. My father and grandparents smoked, but they never failed to tell me how bad and nasty a habit it was and how I should never do it. And how I never would do it as long as they had anything to say about it. Don’t get started, they said, it’s expensive and it will kill you. And it has killed a few members of my family.

    So while I too grew up with the evil candy and tobacco and entertainment and ad companies looming over me, pushing their tobacco towards me, I never smoked. Never wanted to. My parents raised me to know better.

    I’d like to see less call for the tobacco companies to stop targeting kids, less calling on Congress for boycotts and stricter regulations on video game companies, and any other sort of regulation you can think of to ‘save the children’. How about we start calling for the parents to step up, fulfill the obligation they took on when they brought another human life into the world, and raise their children? It’s no guarantee that if parents do start getting more involved that people won’t grow up to smoke or drink or have unprotected sex, but at least they will have a little bit of a reference and some information to make their decisions. Role models beat legislation every time.


  2. Devin, I totally agree. A thought that was brimming in the back of my mind when I picked the boxes up was, what parent is letting their kids buy this stuff? I guess whatever the kids do outside of the home is out of their control.

    But, in my mind that still doesn’t excuse these companies nor the candy store that sells these products. It’s pernicious, in my opinion.

  3. That’s nothing. Have you seen the candy crack? Rock candy with a plastic pipe and a betty crocker heat lamp. Personally, I think the hypodermic needles filled with sugar solution is going a bit too far, but that’s just me.

    Apparently, there’s a real story about a toy gun maker that strives for the most realistic look and feel. Police force people to paint the barrels red so they don’t shoot the kids by mistake.

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