Candy cigarettes: A nostalgic sign of the times

I loved putting a candy cigarette, its tip dyed red, between my lips and pretending I was puffing away with the grown-ups.


WASHINGTON, August 12, 2015 – Walking through my local Big Lots store recently I ran across an item that brought back sinister impressions of my childhood.

Candy cigarettes.

Shrink wrapped in cellophane and packaged in boxes clearly patterned after popular brands, I juggled with uncomfortable flashbacks of the smoke-filled corridors of my home, where both my parents and my older brothers smoked like chimneys.

I loved putting a candy cigarette, its tip dyed red, between my lips and pretending I was puffing away with the grown-ups. Now retirement age, I’ve suffered from bronchial problems every winter since those second-hand smoke days.

Why are these poisonous avatars of an earlier and heedless age being peddled by a reputable big box store?

My only guess is that Big Lots is trading in on our nostalgia for extinct edibles.

This seems to be born out by a story on CBS Money Watch, which reports:

Just because a food product has been discontinued doesn’t mean it’s gone forever.

A secondary market has sprung up on eBay (EBAY) for long-gone or soon-to-be departed packaged goods, ranging from the short-lived Crystal Pepsi to Betty Crocker’s Rainbow Chip frosting. Some of the items carry price tags in the hundreds of dollars. While those prices may seem optimistic, the sellers are clearly hoping to tap into Americans’ nostalgia for foods of yore.

The article goes on to mention the Great Twinkie Scare, when Hostess discontinued making them for several months. I thought about buying up a case lot myself to sell on eBay, but decided against it. Out of sheer comatose laziness, not astuteness.

Where are the extinct food and drink of yesteryear such as those bottles of fruit-flavored Clearly Canadian sparkling water or Mr. T Cereal?

They’re on eBay, selling for outrageous prices — that’s where.

Nostalgia is too expensive for me.

And yes, you can buy cartons of candy cigarettes on — more’s the shame.

Nostalgia for yesteryears’ snackin’

A good snack doesn’t die, my friend — nor does it fade away.

It’s offered for a kingly ransom somewhere on eBay.

Salt and sugar, grease and starch — they last eternally.

When the sun is cinders we will still enjoy a Twinkie. 


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