Candy cigarettes lead to the real thing

Filed under: Preschoolers, Big Kids, Tweens, Teens, Health & Safety: Babies, Nutrition: Health, Development/Milestones: Babies, Media

According to a recent article on yahoo news, kids who "smoke" candy cigarettes are more likely to try the real thing when they outgrow their taste for the other ones. Now, I am no expert (no, really, I'm not!) and I am only one example, but I clearly remember eating and sucking on candy cigarettes when I was a kid, mostly while hanging around my Nana's beauty shop. A candy vending machine near there had two different kinds: regular and chocolate. I preferred the chocolate.

And guess what? Yes, you guessed it--I used to be a smoker. Yech. I can't even believe I wrote that! But, sadly, it's true.

According to the results of the study, candy cigarettes make the real ones seem more appealing and palatable. Kids get used to the idea of smoking without even realizing it, then transition to the tobacco variety as soon as they can get their hands on them.

Phillip Morris naturally replies that they don't make colorful or candy flavored cigarettes (oh, but if they could) and that they don't want kids to smoke. Right. That's why cigarette ads were posted in ballparks and other super-kid friendly places, because PM doesn't want kids to smoke. They did, however, decline to comment on whether or not candy cigarettes lead to real cigarette usage.

The leading makers of the candy cigarettes, World Candy, also declined to make a statement.

Skeptics could say that candy cigarettes to real cigarettes is like saying violence on television leads to violence in the streets, a controversial theory always up for debate. My response? Well, you don't see candy crack pipes for sale in candy stores. Last time I was in a candy store I don't recall seeing fake beers or candy heroin needles. Hmm.

Why can't the makers of such candy treats keep them in the shapes kids know and love already, like rats and spiders and eyeballs? I mean, come on--you haven't tasted gelatin perfection until you've had a gummy bat.

Those gooey things may be gross (especially the eyeball) but they don't get kids to eat the real thing. Candy cigarettes, on the other hand, are a little more subtle in their deception. Candy cigarettes desensitize children to the tobacco version. Candy cigarettes are located right next to the bubble gum and baseball cards, which are generally located very near the real cigarettes.

Since most kids start smoking before they're eighteen, the legal age in many states to buy a pack of cigarettes, how soon do you suppose a child might make the switch from candy to tobacco?

Even though I haven't seen candy cigarettes since I was a kid, they are apparently still legal in the U. S. Other countries such as Canada and the United Kingdom have banned them.

My final thoughts on the matter: maybe we shouldn't ban candy cigarettes, but rather the real thing. I'd love to see a bunch of again hipsters hanging around the outside of the local watering hole with candy cigarettes hanging out of their mouths. We'd have a lot fewer people dying from cancer.

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.
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