Few things are as surely polarizing as smoking. And to our 21st-century sensibilities, having gone through countless anti-tobacco and drug resistance programming, candy cigarettes are just weird. But we’re not the first ones to think so. Candy cigarettes were first introduced in the 1930s, and as if candy that encouraged smoking wasn’t weird enough, their ingredient list was even stranger. According to Northeast News, they were made from sugar, corn starch, beef gelatin, tapioca, and flavoring that made them taste like toothpaste. Yum?
The first ban actually came pretty early. In 1953, North Dakota banned the sale of candy cigarettes for fear it would lead to kids smoking the real thing, but that ban was lifted in 1967. Strange? Absolutely. So what happened?
By 1970, most companies weren’t calling them “cigarettes” anymore, but calling them “sticks” didn’t make these candies any less controversial. A St. Paul, Minnesota candy store found that out the hard way in 2012, when ABC reported that they had failed afoul of the law. A city ordinance had already banned the sale of these candy sticks and the store soon found themselves facing serious ends.
While attempts at nationwide bans have failed, there are numerous local and state bans in place. The candy sticks are illegal in Tennessee and Maine, for one. Interestingly, they’re also a no-go in numerous other countries, like Australia, Canada, Thailand, Saudi Arabia, Finland, Ireland, Norway, and Turkey (via Candy Favorites).