Candy Cigarettes

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December 27, 2012:
Government At Work: Minnesota soda shop gets cited for selling candy smokes.

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In The Media:

An amusing take on candy cigarettes is seen in the 500th (499th?) Simpsons episode where kids get Licky Strikes out of a vending machine at school and debate the merits of banned vintage candies.

Are Candy Cigarettes Illegal In Your Area?

Strange Twist Makes It Harder For Adults to Get Candy Smokes Than Real Ones.

Candy Cigarettes brough an ironic twist to the end of 2012, which saw its share of serious news stories, disasters, and financial meltdowns. A store in St. Paul, Minnesota was cited for selling candy cigarettes, which are primarily bought by adults. Apparently the city council outlawed selling sugar cigarettes, bubble gum cigars, and shaved gum in pouches (like the brand name Big League Chew) in an attempt to stop kids from smoking. So far there is no word on whether you can sell sugar syringes, candy crack, or malted meth balls.

The St. Paul City Council may also want to look out for twigs on the ground, as I remember a favorite activity on the first cold day of the year was to hold a twig in your mouth while blowing out foggy air in order to simulate smoking. Despite the fact that the candy cigarettes were the store's best selling item, they were pulled for fear of a $500 fine. Naturally, the news story has gone viral and left people wondering about the power of government and the foolishness of trying to ban candy cigarette replicas. One of the biggest problems in the past few years involves "herbal incense" and synthetic drugs that are cheaper and more dangerous than their outlawed counterparts.

In the meantime, driving up the cost of smoking has just deprived poor people of their disposable income, since (like all drug addicts) they will forego the other little items in their life in order to feed their habit, and will switch to generic smokes in order to feed their fix. City and State governments, who are complicit in the addiction cycle, raise taxes on smoking (ostensibly to stop it) but know that nicotine addiction is actually funding a large part of their infrastructure, so getting people to stop smoking, or outlawing tobacco, would be counterproductive.

Generally, attempts to ban smoking and smoking paraphenalia only shift the supply to the Internet and underground sources. (For an example, look at New York, where cigarettes are sold illegaly to get around the high tax rate.) Now, thanks to the wisdom of a city council, the sales taxes generated by candy cigarette purchases will be lost to online sellers of vintage candies. Local distributors will lose a revenue stream. This includes Teamsters and Union Shop members in distribution and packaging. Therefore, once again, looking out for the "children" (anyone under 105) results in your city looking foolish, less tax revenue, and more people grumbling about the influence of government on commerce.

Notes and Special Information

Special note: The author of this web page is old enough to remember when real cigarettes cost 60 cents a pack, and people sent their 5 year old nephew (me) to the store to buy a pack. Nowadays folks get all bent out of shape when you try that.