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Soda shop busted for selling candy smokes

minnesota encouraged youngsters to smoke city ordinance

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#1 Hum

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 23:05

A back-in-the-day soda fountain in St. Paul has been busted for selling cigarettes -- made of candy.

Lynden's, on Hamline Avenue near Cretin-Derham Hall High School, said a city inspections official came in last week and gave the shop a warning and added that a misdemeanor citation -- with a $500 fine -- would be next if the cancer-free confectionery continues to be sold.

"We got busted [Dec. 19] by the City of St. Paul. Oops," the shop Tweeted.

Candy cigarettes, bubble gum cigars and bubblegum made to look like chewing tobacco have been among a host of vintage sugary treats that Lynden's has kept in stock since it opened in April.

"We had no idea," Tobi Lynden said Wednesday, lamenting that she can no longer sell the white candy sticks with the red tips, her best-selling candy item. "We don't want to get on the bad side of St. Paul."

Lynden said nearly all of the candy cigarette purchases were made by adults.

" 'Oh, I had these when I was little,' " she said she would often hear. "We weren't trying to promote smoking or tobacco use of any kind."

And just what would prompt a bureaucrat to ferret out such nefarious activity?

"Somebody from Bloomington called and reported us," Lynden said. "The whole thing is pretty weird."

Robert Humphrey, spokesman or the city's Safety and Inspections Department, said the complaint came to his agency on Dec. 13. An inspector visited Lynden's on Dec. 19 and had the verboten products immediately removed from the sales floor.

In April 2009, a unanimous City Council outlawed candy smokes and cartoon character lighters. The council cited a study showing that these products encouraged youngsters to take up smoking tobacco.

Lynden’s Facebook page has collected dozens of comments decrying the enforcement action and the rationale behind it.

“I just got through a bag of gummy bears,” one person wrote. “ Now I can’t stop thinking about where to find a REAL bear to eat!”

Several countries prohibit the sale of candy cigarettes, including Australia, Canada and Thailand. In the United States, some national retailers have agreed not to sell them. Maine and Tennessee and several local jurisdictions in other states have banned the sale of novelty lighters.

The ordinance was championed by a group of St. Paul teenagers working with the Association for Nonsmokers-Minnesota, which educates youth groups and individuals who want to lobby for anti-tobacco policies.

Humphrey said he gets a complaint "about once a year" concerning the sale of candy cigarettes and other sugary tobacco-themed products in his city.

"We enforce this on a complaint basis," Humphrey said." This isn't taking time away from any major enforcement [actions]."

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#2 Rohdekill

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 23:09

I don't know which is more sad....
.. a ban on candy just because it appears to look like something else
.. or the fact that they have a "candy police" to enforce such a thing.

#3 compl3x

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 23:23

It's not a secret that candy cigarettes were/are used to normalise smoking. It's why no tobacco company ever sued a candy maker for using their brand names or package likeness on the packets of candy cigarettes. Hell, they cooperated with them:

Tobacco Cooperated With Candy Cig Makers

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#4 xendrome

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 23:35

I'm almost positive that the city cannot pass an ordinance for something that isn't illegal under state/federal law. They can issue a resolution urging the retail stores to stop selling the items, but it isn't an actual ordinance and enforceable by law. I'd love to own this store and have them come in and tell me that I cannot sell a product that isn't illegal in any way.

#5 Growled

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 23:45

It's such a sad little world we live in. We have candy police now.

#6 ir0nw0lf

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 23:52

I'll smoke to that! ... j/k You can find places all over the net that sell novelty candy and these candy cigs are a staple in them. I still have some at home still wrapped up. Shame people have to narc out places like this.

#7 redvamp128

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Posted 27 December 2012 - 01:07

Then they should also shut down Walmart as well as most gas stations and other retail chains they sell this.. (hey is is supposed to imitate Chewing Tobacco )

This is also due to the fact that most Candy Smokes the package does not look like the real thing anymore.

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The packages are smaller and they no longer color the tip brown as well as make them thin...

I can see them stopping the ones of yesterday, but the ones of today even the Gum Cigars.

Okay-- Next let us cease Pixie Sticks because they look like a straw that someone would inhale cocaine through.

#8 OP Hum

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Posted 27 December 2012 - 02:01

I enjoyed candy ciggys as a kid -- and I did not take up a smoking habit. :happy:

#9 Growled

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Posted 27 December 2012 - 05:05

I enjoyed candy ciggys as a kid -- and I did not take up a smoking habit. :happy:


Same here. Hard to believe, huh?

#10 Sandor

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Posted 27 December 2012 - 05:27

The fact the product exists is sad.

Seems like a good idea to ban it.

#11 Reverend Spam

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Posted 27 December 2012 - 13:15

I remember having candy cigarettes when I was a kid... Good times... :-p

#12 Guest_xiphi_*

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Posted 27 December 2012 - 13:36

I also used to have candy cigs as a kid and I've not picked up smoking. Cigarettes have an awful smell, too. I swear every time someone lights one up in a building it smells like the whole place is on fire.

#13 xendrome

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Posted 27 December 2012 - 13:41

I also used to have candy cigs as a kid and I've not picked up smoking. Cigarettes have an awful smell, too. I swear every time someone lights one up in a building it smells like the whole place is on fire.


Where exactly are you that they allow smoking inside of a building besides a bar?

#14 arachnoid

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Posted 27 December 2012 - 13:43

If you remove all reference material to a product the product then dies a natural death but if you still allow advertising in the way of candy,sponsorship and such then the brand still has a foothold.

#15 +SOOPRcow

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Posted 27 December 2012 - 13:44

Where exactly are you that they allow smoking inside of a building besides a bar?


Cant even smoke inside a bar in California. One of the few California laws I love :)