Candy cigarettes: Bringing the candy man home

Jun 18, 2007

New research suggests that playing with candy cigarettes may favorably set the minds of some children towards becoming future cigarette smokers.

The study, reported in the July issue of Preventive Medicine, shows that in a nationally representative sample of 25,887 US adults, the percentages who had never consumed candy cigarettes were 12% in current and former smokers vs. 22% in never smokers, and the corresponding percentages of adults who had regularly (often or very often) consumed candy cigarettes were 22% in current and former smokers vs. 14% in never smokers.

Candy cigarettes are made of candy or gum, shaped into cylindrical sticks and sold in rectangular boxes roughly the size of cigarette packs. In the US they are typically displayed next to the bubble gum and the trading cards commonly sold in supermarkets and convenience stores. Make-believe cigarette smoking may be considered illicit and mature by some children, but research suggests that playing with these edible “toys” cannot be considered as a benign parody of cigarette smoking.

This new research is built on past research, such as focus groups in the US with 4 to 11 year-old children and a survey of 7th graders which indicated that playing with candy cigarettes may actually desensitize children to the harm of real smoking (Pediatrics 1992: 89: 27-31).

“Candy and gum look-alike products allow children to respond to tobacco marketing and advertising long before they are old enough to smoke a cigarette,” comments Dr. Klein, the corresponding author. “The continued existence of these products helps promote smoking as a culturally or socially acceptable activity.”

While countries including the UK, Australia, and Canada currently restrict candy cigarette sales, US federal and all but one state legislative efforts at banning candy cigarettes have been unsuccessful (the one exception was later repealed). Ironically, it appears that the responsibility for restricting candy cigarette sales in the US has been left up to large national retailers such as the Wal-Mart chain, which has a company-wide policy banning the sale of cigarette look-alike products to minors in all 50 states. Candy cigarettes cannot be considered simply as candy.

Source: Elsevier

Explore further: Oil-swishing craze: Snake oil or all-purpose remedy?

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Study documents cigarette environmental hazards

Sep 06, 2013

Back in the bad old days when teenagers smoked cigarettes to be cool, it wasn't unusual for a teenage girl to surreptitiously pocket a cigarette butt left behind by a boy she had a crush on.

A step toward a saliva test for cancer

Aug 31, 2011

A new saliva test can measure the amount of potential carcinogens stuck to a person's DNA -- interfering with the action of genes involved in health and disease -- and could lead to a commercial test to help determine risks ...

Recommended for you

Suddenly health insurance is not for sale

Apr 18, 2014

(HealthDay)— Darlene Tucker, an independent insurance broker in Scotts Hill, Tenn., says health insurers in her area aren't selling policies year-round anymore.

Study: Half of jailed NYC youths have brain injury (Update)

Apr 18, 2014

About half of all 16- to 18-year-olds coming into New York City's jails say they had a traumatic brain injury before being incarcerated, most caused by assaults, according to a new study that's the latest in a growing body ...

Autonomy and relationships among 'good life' goals

Apr 18, 2014

Young adults with Down syndrome have a strong desire to be self-sufficient by living independently and having a job, according to a study into the meaning of wellbeing among young people affected by the disorder.

User comments : 0

More news stories

Filipino tests negative for Middle East virus

A Filipino nurse who tested positive for the Middle East virus has been found free of infection in a subsequent examination after he returned home, Philippine health officials said Saturday.

Study says we're over the hill at 24

(Medical Xpress)—It's a hard pill to swallow, but if you're over 24 years of age you've already reached your peak in terms of your cognitive motor performance, according to a new Simon Fraser University study.

NASA's space station Robonaut finally getting legs

Robonaut, the first out-of-this-world humanoid, is finally getting its space legs. For three years, Robonaut has had to manage from the waist up. This new pair of legs means the experimental robot—now stuck ...

Ex-Apple chief plans mobile phone for India

Former Apple chief executive John Sculley, whose marketing skills helped bring the personal computer to desktops worldwide, says he plans to launch a mobile phone in India to exploit its still largely untapped ...

Egypt archaeologists find ancient writer's tomb

Egypt's minister of antiquities says a team of Spanish archaeologists has discovered two tombs in the southern part of the country, one of them belonging to a writer and containing a trove of artifacts including reed pens ...

Airbnb rental site raises $450 mn

Online lodging listings website Airbnb inked a $450 million funding deal with investors led by TPG, a source close to the matter said Friday.