Chew em' if You Got em'!
Candy cigarettes were not only tasty (well, kind of like after dinner mints tasty) -but they had a special allure as they were made for kids who weren't old enough for the real thing. The packages were so strikingly real that I thought I was infinitely cool by fooling everyone into thinking I had a pack of real cigarettes!
Most of these candy cigarettes were of a chalky feel, and the ends were flattened (probably so parents could tell the difference at a glance). During these great days of the 60's, it was commonplace for people to smoke; they smoked in stores, restaurants, and - more importantly - on TV.
All of our favorite movie and TV actors and actresses smoked. In fact, the advertising for cigarettes was so prolific, that the magazines, billboards, radio and television were saturated with smoky advertising. Is it any wonder that so many kids began smoking, or sneaking smokes as early as ten or twelve years old?
Some of the candy cigarettes had similar names to the real smokes, but some of them bore the exact name, such as Marlboro, L&M and Winston. There were even chocolate cigarettes that came wrapped in thin white cigarette papers so that the ends looked just like the real thing. I really loved these, but they were harder to come by as only a few stores carried them. On the cooler days around October and November when the chilly air turned our breaths to fog, we could pretend to be exhaling real smoke.
Bubble gum cigars were also wonderful. They tasted so good, but could never be mistaken for the real things as they came in bright colors like pink, yellow and minty green. The El Bubble brand of bubble gum cigars were the best, and very tasty. The best part about them was that they were so big! By the time I got the whole thing in my mouth I had some pretty sore jaws.
All said and done, candy cigarettes were more fun than they were tasty. They were just another way for us kids to speed up the process of adulthood, and getting some grownup lifestyles into our lives. Why I was in such a hurry to grow up is beyond me. If only I had known.