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A Little Gift for the Kids

A Little Gift for the Kids

July 18, 2008


When I was in third grade I went to Catholic school for a year. After school every day I would walk with a bunch of my friends to a nearby child care place where we would run around and make trouble until our parents came to get us. Honestly, I don’t remember what we used to do in those few interim hours. It was a shockingly long walk that included crossing railroad tracks and a busy intersection.

We would walk by a little candy store on the way. My mother used to give me 26 cents. With that I could buy a piece of candy. A huge gobstopper, a large pixie stick, or a ring pop were my typical purchases. But every once in awhile I would pool my money with another friend and we would buy a box of bubble gum cigarettes.

Posted by Chris @ 2:27 am  

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  1. Brigitte says:

    Oh, so politically incorrect! But not as bad as one candy so incorrect that I feel deep shame whenever I even remember them: little, chocolate babies called “tar babies”. Oh, the ignorant innocence of my youth, when I had no clue that even meant anything!

  2. Caren Story says:

    My mom hated it when we got those things. She thought it would lead us to start smoking later on, cuz we liked the looks of it…I told her she was crazy, but she didnt listen…

  3. CarolynOnline says:

    I loved the way you could blow out little puffs of sugar just like real smoke. What were they thinking?

  4. Gettysburg Mom says:

    I was just thinking about these the other day… I was recalling how they had the dusting of powdered sugar inside the paper so that you could blow out “smoke”… I honestly didn’t think they’d still be available on the open market… black market, perhaps. Thanks for the stroll down memory lane!

  5. Impromptu-Mom says:

    I didn’t know that they even still made these!
    Living in a state where public smoking is outlawed, I guess they’re not so common anymore, but, boy, did I love these when I was a kid!

  6. Michelle says:

    Ha ha. I remember those things. My parents wouldn’t let me buy those b/c she feared that we’d want the real ones. I remember even the school nuns banning them from school! What memories!

  7. Bryanne says:

    I bought these all the time as a kid… I remember how the powdered sugar between the gum and the wrapper would produce a “smoke” cloud if you blew on the “cigarette”. Thought I looked like my dad (there’s a telling comment).

    I didn’t pick up smoking until I was 19, much older than a typical kid who is going to smoke. I was never much of a smoker, never more than a pack a week at my heaviest, but it took me about 15 years to quit and to this day I still get a really bad jones once in a while.

    Had to give up Coke recently (cola, not cocaine). I still call it the “black crack” because I am finding this MUCH harder than giving up cancer sticks. Sugar is a cruel, cruel mistress!

  8. lora says:

    I still crave those, but I’m too afraid to buy them because I don’t want to get in trouble like I did the last time I got caught with them.

    Flushing candy down the toilet is traumatic. I suggested that I eat them all in one sitting because that’s what my grandad did to my mom when he found her cigarettes. She wasn’t having it.

  9. Dani says:

    I went to this great little candy shop in Rhode Island last weekend that was like a blast from the past. Not only did they have candy cigarettes but they had Sugar Daddies, Sugar Babies, Dots, penny gum, candy buttons, Necco Wafers, Bit O Honey, wax bottles, etc.. It was a great walk down memory lane and the best part was sharing it with my kids.

    Don’t you just love being able to share a piece of your childhood with the kids?

  10. sandy says:

    I don’t know what they are, but i’d be thrilled to get something like that.

  11. Mandy says:

    And if you got a really good pack there would be so much white powdered sugar on them you could blow into them and make them “smoke”. Ah, the days when corrupting kids was just good clean fun!

  12. Sarah says:

    So, which camp are you in now? I feel like I’m in the minority, but I don’t see a problem with this. My husband smokes, I do not, the kids LOVE these. We get the non-bubblegum kind, so it’s just candy sticks. But I have gotten such nasty looks from other women when they see me letting them pick that out. IMO, it’s CANDY. they know that. I am like a broken record with the hazards of smoking…so I truly don’t see the harm. Is it PC? Probably not. But then again neither is much else these days.

  13. Amy says:

    Man, those were THE days. Did you really find these? My husband would have a heart attack if I gave these out to the kids. I’m hesitant to say I would! But back in the day, it wasn’t a big deal… I feel so old right now.

  14. Shannon says:

    Loved these as a kid. A friend of mine bought some for her girls and her husband freaked out. “They are going to think smoking is cool”, he said. She replied that she had them as a child and never smoked anything, and that she ALSO had rub on tattoos and has never gotten a real one of those either, lol. Memories!

  15. Ladybug Crossing says:

    There is an old fashioned candy store where my kids go to summer camp that carries these. They get them every year! I have some of the funniest pictures of them “smokin’ cigarettes”.

    Ahhh… the memories…

  16. suburbancorrespondent says:

    I’m surprised they still sell them! But I remember being 5 years old and “smoking” those with my friend, pretending to be grown-up and sophisticated.

  17. Beth says:

    As a kid, I thought the candy cigarettes were cool. As a parent, I wonder who the hell thought that would be a good thing to give kids.

  18. Shannon says:

    I remember those!! I miss them. We always thought we were cool running around pretending we were smoking like the adults. Oh, those were the days!

  19. Heather's Garden says:

    We used to “smoke” these at day camp to feel like badasses. I can’t believe they still make bubblegum cigarettes. Isn’t it romanticizing smoking to children? The one thing that almost everyone agrees we don’t want to do?

  20. Annika says:

    Oh, I love candy cigarettes! I bought a couple packages at an old=fashioned soda and candy store (I also got Dr. Pepper in glass bottles made with real sugar) and my two-year-old loved them. He’ll be smoking behind the 7-11 by the time he’s four.

  21. kalisa says:

    I was in a candy store at the beach in Florida a couple weeks ago and was SHOCKED to find candy cigarettes. I mean, I guess they were meant to be retro or something, but I had no idea anyone actually made those anymore.

  22. Char says:

    Did you still have to pool your money with a friend to buy them?

  23. jodi says:

    I took my youngest (age 16 at the time) and a few of his friends to a concert. We stopped for a bathroom break and the place we were at sold candy cigarettes. One of the boys bought some and handed me one while I was driving. There I was, driving with a cigarette hanging out of my mouth, much to the amusement of some and the dismay of my son who said that it was the most disturbing thing. I thought it was funny, like an old cartoon.

  24. Becky says:

    It’s enough to make me wish that I could bring my kids up back in the 80s. I used to ride my bike around ALL day = sometimes getting at least a couple of miles from my house. I would have a heart attack if my kids did that, I think. (and I don’t even yet have kids!)

    Is it true? Am I finally one of those people that say, “in the good ole days?”
    :) Becky

  25. Mary W says:

    oh Dublin Dr. Pepper (Dr. Pepper made with sugar cane) is FABULOUS. Everytime we go to the Stockyards we get Dublin DP.

    We used to have candy cigarettes that weren’t gum but a minty candy. We thought we were of so cool.

  26. Reno says:

    Why romanticize smoking? There’s a huge choice of candy out there - cigarette candy isn’t cute.

  27. dana says:

    OH, I remember these sooo well. I loved them. I actually loved the way these chalk sticks tasted. But then again, I always loved the lik-a-stik sticks the best!!! Do you remember Bitty Bombs - little red balls like redhots, but they were better??

  28. gorillabuns says:

    finding a patch to get rid of this addiction is troublesome.

  29. Amy says:

    Yeah, I dunno. I am so focused on giving my daughter the message that smoking is gross, I can’t imagine letting her “play” at it … though I do vividly recall having fun with these as a kid. Of course, there were also Virginia Slims commercials all over the place, and smoking was “elegant” then. Heh. I love the retro look of the boxes, though!

  30. common mom says:

    My brother and I ALWAYS had candy cigarettes . . . I mean ALWAYS! And what luck when someone had a baby and you got one of those cool bubble gum cigars!

    We were out picking apples at the Happy Apple Farm last fall and I told my kids they could pick a treat from the little store thingy in the shed . . . Dude found a single pack of candy cigarettes. From the look on his face, you woulda thought he’d found a million dollars :-)

    Ahhhhh - the good ol’ days ;-)

  31. Inzaburbs says:

    Bubble gum cigarettes? Get this - I wasn’t allowed bubble gum or candy!

    We used to get sent to the grocery store on our bikes though, when my mother ran out of sugar or salt or something. And she never, ever asked for the change. It took me until I was in my thirties to have that doh! moment and realise she knew exactly where the extra money was going.

    One of my fondest memories is sitting under a tree with my sister on the way home, “smoking” candy cigarettes.

  32. julie says:

    Oh, sweet memories!! We used to walk to the 5&dime from my friends house…a long walk along a very busy road with no sidewalks, and load up on these and all kinds of other thigns which in retrospect were horrible. (Remember garbage pail kids? Big league Chew!? Geez! We’re lucky we don’t all smoke, chew, and leave our kids in the dumpster)

    I’m torn, too. These were my favorite candy. I liked the ones with the red tips so they looked lit. We’d practice holding them just so and staring up and off to the side while lifting htem to our mouths. Ah, to be so cool.

    And for the record, I’ve smoked less than 10 real ones in my life and never would consider real chew, so even though my PC Motherly self is aghast at them in 2008, I’m still glad I got to have them as a kid. :)

  33. Hadley says:

    My brother and I used to love the non-bubblegum ones. We would shape them into all sorts of cool stair-rail like creations. My mother bought a case of them for my brother and his best friend–she wrapped half of them in a paper bag and gave them to their teacher (who was her best friend) with strict instructions not to open and to pass them on at the end of the day. Contraband at school!

  34. Jen says:

    My family owns several bars and for nostalgic reasons we order a box every once in a while, kids never buy them, it’s always adults.

  35. Honey Mommy says:

    I remember going to the “general store” to get penny candies. It was so awesome! You could choose a whole bunch of different kinds of candy and they each only cost a penny! You can’t get anything for a penny now!

  36. Elizabeth says:

    I don’t remember the gum ones, we always got them as a gross minty-chalky candy. But, my dad was a pipe smoker and used to fill a mason jar with smoke for us to play with - now there’s a good idea.

  37. Carolynn from Western Australia says:

    Bryanne was saying how hard it has been to give up Coke (the drink) and what a hard mistress sugar is, you may find it is the high level of Caffiene that is in Coke is the hard thing to give up.

    Those sweets that look like little brown babies, we can still get them here and they are caled Chicos and very nice too.

    We used to get the candy sticks like cigarettes but not the bubblegum ones. I don’t think they are available here any more ( I may be wrong), I certainly haven’t seen them around even in the Old English Lolly Shops.

    I remember a packet of sweets in England called ‘Spangles’, does anyone know if you can still get them.
    I love going into the Old English Lolly Shop there are so many nice goodies in there and many things that bring back memories but so expensive too.

    Take Care Everyone and enjoy Memory Lane, mind you most of you are a lot younger than I am.

    Love Carolynn :-)

  38. kristine says:

    Ahhh the memories. I say lighten up! (that could be a bad pun but I didn’t say LIGHT up!)

  39. Dani says:

    Carolynn - That candy shop I mentioned (above) in Rhode Island had Spangles!

  40. t in h says:

    Wow, I’m surprised these are sold in the U.S. I grew up with these as a kid in Germany and we loved them. Thought we were so cool pretending to smoke with them. Ack. Turns out, I’ve never had the even the remotest inclination to smoke the real thing. My sister, on the other hand…. However, I’d hesitate to say it was influenced by those candy cigarettes. Still, my dh *hates* them and won’t allow our kids to have them. He is repulsed by the idea of little kids pretending to smoke and, to be fair, smoking amongst young teens here (Germany) is shockingly common, so I guess I can’t blame him. I’m pretty sure my kids will survive their childhoods without experiencing this particular candy just as I’m pretty sure that avoiding these candies isn’t going to be what helps our kids avoid smoking later on. ;-)

    A sweet that looks like a baby? I could never eat something that looked like a baby!

  41. CathyC says:

    The powdered sugar on them seemed like REAL smoke! I love how politically incorrect they are, yet they are still made. :)

  42. MelissaS says:

    OMG I didn’t know they still made these! I remember them from growing up!