Candy Cigarettes

Candy Cigarettes

Years before the public fully understood the dangers associated with smoking tobacco, it was glamorized to no end in movies and on television. And youngsters weren’t immune to the allure of their favorite hero suavely dangling a cigarette from his or her mouth. Eager to imitate the image, but a little too young for the real thing, they settled for candy cigarettes. Now a tyke could hang out on the street corner, a miniature James Dean or Bette Davis, showing that they too had what it took to look tough (fake pack rolled neatly in the sleeve of their shirt). Eventually, of course, nicotine addiction became frowned upon and so did confectionery replicas of cigarettes, which had finally lost their…cool. Today, we look back at this once-popular candy.

Candy Cigarettes were available for decades and could be found in a variety of forms. Some were simply sticks of milk chocolate, wrapped in paper. Others were filled with a powder-coated bubble gum that, when you blew through the tube, appeared to be emitting smoke. Bubble gum cigars also emerged, such as the exotic-sounding “El Bubble,” and could be purchased in mint, banana or fruit flavor. The type of candy cigarette that most people remember, however, consisted of a bunch of white sticks of bland, chalky candy (think “stale dinner mint”) with the red “ember” painted on the end. These were, by far, the most readily available of the bunch.

Contrary to popular belief, candy cigarettes were never formally banned, at least not by law. Rather, as the public became better informed of the dangers of smoking in the 70s, the perception changed among all age groups and kids decided that Fonzie (who didn’t smoke) was far cooler than James Dean anyway. Candy cigarettes began disappearing from the shelves, never to return. Today, they can only be found at places that specialize in retro candies, although the bubble gum cigars now serve as a popular (and healthier) substitute to hand out when announcing the arrival of a new child.

If you had a candy cigarette habit back in the day, share your memories with us in our comments section. Did you roll them up in the sleeve of your t-shirt? Did you blow through the bubble gum ones to produce powdered sugar smoke? Did you consider yourself pretty darn cool? Help us remember this retro confection that probably won’t be making a comeback anytime soon.

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9 Responses to “Candy Cigarettes”

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  1. Timothy says:

    The only person in my family who smoked when I was growing up was my mom, who died at the young age of 56 from cancer caused by her smoking (I was 19). I remember when I was real little my mom and I were watching my late brother play football at the local junior high school, and there was this refreshment table set up in front of the bleachers where they sold soda, hot dogs and candy, with candy cigarettes being one of the candy items offered. My mom bought me a few packs and they became one of my favorite candies as a kid! Despite that, I’ve never smoked a real cigarette in my life and I never intend to even try it.

  2. tcoria says:

    candy cigarettes were the best, the sweet powder taste was so good.

  3. Sparkina says:

    Those things were tasty! They tasted like mint, and I am a fiend for mint. I never played at smoking, just ate them as a yummy candy — but hey! A “cigarette” that makes breath fresh!

  4. Jennifer harris says:

    I hated these things.

  5. Ricia says:

    I loved these things. I would always try to get the knock off of my mom’s brand too (Pall Mall, Pell Mell). Haha. Never had any desire to smoke the actual things though. The bubble gum ones were good too.

  6. Shelly says:

    We have a retro toy store in our town that sells both the chalky ones and the plastic ones that emit powder. I “smoked” one as part of my Halloween costume one year and the waiter told me to put it out before he realized it was fake. Ha!

  7. roxanne says:

    I loved these as a kid. I had the ones that looked like thin chalk with the pink at the tip. I used to put them in my mouth backwards. My mom could not understand why at first, then realized that I was imitating my cousin Georgianna, because she wore pink lipstick and it always stuck to the end of her cigarette!

    I also remember begging a family friend to stop smoking. Mr. Anderson did stop smoking, and I used to bring him candy cigarettes and we would “smoke” them together while he taught me how to play shuffleboard at the American Legion. (He also taught me how to hustle other players, but that is a different story!!!)

  8. C. says:

    The BEST time ever with candy cigs was when one of the elderly neighborhood ladies scolded us from her window as we enjoyed a “smoke” out on the sidewalk. We used to get ones that had a narrow hollow and you could blow a puff of sugar “smoke” out. The second best time was last year when I found these and bought some for my childhood pal’s 50th b-day; the waiter at the restaurant (about 18 years old) scolded us that we couldn’t smoke in the restaurant. I think we laughed just as hard as we did way back when.

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