Will Banning Candy Cigarettes Really Stop Our Children From Smoking?
The chalky white candy sticks with red tips that I loved as a child has been banned by the state of Tennessee (and Maine) on September 21, 2009! Will this law reduce the number of smokers in the United States? I don't think so.
Image: Steve Snodgrass via Flickr
The state of Tennessee needs to get their priorities in line! Smoking is a legal, unhealthy activity that hurts the person smoking the cigarette. Tennessee allows the children (who are banned from candy cigarettes) access to little sticks of dynamite. The misuse of fireworks can cause severe harm to the child now and encourage inappropriate, reckless behavior later. Whereas eating a candy stick that resembles a cigarette would do no immediate damage now and will not directly contribute to unhealthy actions later on in life.
Is the candy really to blame? The 18-year-old age limit wasn't set by the United States government until 1998. (Four states set the age to 19.) It took years after that before Hollywood veered away from characters that smoked tobacco products. Marlboro had a large display in the outfield of every baseball game. Famous icons smoking in commercials invaded the television. The lung cancer epidemic and the high tax didn't deter consumers either.
The reason for the recent decline in smokers is due to education on the effects of tobacco use. Only 24 percent of the United States population admit to being active smokers according to a Gallup Poll. The percentage is only down 2 percent from the 1990s. In the 1950s, when the candy cigarettes were first introduced, the smoking rate was at an all-time high of 44 percent. This candy has been available to children for more than 60 years. Even though it was first invented to attract young smokers, it hasn't seemed to affect the declining smoking rate in the United States.
So will banning a candy really stop future generations from smoking?
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