Here’s a Flashback Friday that you pretty much have to be older than 30 to really appreciate. Of all the unique and odd candies we had back in the days of my youth three decades ago, there isn’t one I more fondly remember, or one whose demise angers me more than candy cigarettes. I remember they used to sell these things in packs that resembled actual cigarette packs, and the cover art on them usually spoofed well known cigarette brands. These 2 inch crunchy sugar sticks tasted great, made you look damn cool, and they weren’t REAL candy cigarettes unless they had the red tip on them!
By the time the 1990’s were upon us, candy cigarettes were viewed as the second greatest danger to children after Freddy Kreuger, and soon the treat we knew as candy cigarettes became this shit:
They changed the name to “candy sticks”, replaced the tricked up cigarette packs with our favorite action heroes, and eliminated the offensive red tip. I don’t know what else they did to change the formula that went into making classic candy cigarettes, but it didn’t taste the same at all. Maybe that red dye was the super secret ingredient that made the original candy smokes taste so good. Maybe the candy manufacturers said, “Fuck it! If we’re going to have to bow down to the anti-smoking Nazis, we may as well please the Health Nazis as well and start making our candy our of healthier ingredients.”
I’ve never smoked in my life, and I certainly don’t encourage the habit. I’m happy to live in a smoke free state, and don’t miss the clouds of smoke that were omnipresent in many public places back in the day (well, except from a nostalgic point of view, anyway). That being said though, I think people go extremely too far when they consider how much something they perceive as dangerous can influence a child. I think we’d pretty much all be dead or run over by now if the Grand Theft Auto series of games were really as influential over young minds as concerned parents want us to believe they are. One kid burns their house down, and Beavis and Butthead can no longer make references to fire in their cartoons. Heck, where’s the Occupy Wall Street movement to call for the banning of Monopoly, which turned several generations of kids into the greedy capitalistic pigs of the future?
It’s a shame that people want to create a mamby-pamby world where smoking doesn’t exist, and all references to it are banned. I know someone who literally has a coronary every time they see someone with a cigarette on TV or in a movie. Non-smoking laws and hefty sin taxes have already succeeded in making smoking about as unpopular as it has ever been going back to the days when Adam and Eve smoked their first fig leaf. Do we really need to take away the joy of a child opening up their first pack of “Lucky Lites” and the satisfaction they get from putting that stick in their mouth, probably making the rookie mistake of red end first. Now kids have to go dig the real thing out of Mommy’s purse if they want to look like those awesome people they see huddled up 15 feet away from the doors of local businesses…. way to go Smoking Nazis! You just hooked another kid for life because you wouldn’t let them have a little candy!
Dammit, now I’m hungry for a pack of Pell Mells….