Candy Smoking Pipes: No Longer a Pipe Dream

by Pamela Barclay on March 7, 2012

Candy Display Source: Wikimedia Commons Photo Credit: Bgag

When I was growing up, candy cigarettes were stocked on shelves next to the bubble gum and taffy. Some brands were even stuffed with powdered sugar so when you blew on them, a puff of “smoke” came out. Outfitted in cardboard packaging and colored to mimic the real thing, they were the epitome of “cool”. Honestly, if they tasted better I may have been tempted to buy them with my allowance more often.

Recent media reports brought to my attention that now candy shoppers do not need to settle for fake smokes. Why settle when you can buy a Lollipipe that you can actually smoke? The Lollipipe comes in a variety of flavors including strawberry, peach, grape, and blue raspberry. According to the manufacturer’s website, the Lollipipe is a “100% edible hard candy and fully functional smoking pipe.” The website also includes instructions for how to smoke the pipe and preserve it for more uses later.

Communities from Michigan to Washington have been working to ban the sale of these candies in stores, arguing that access to them gives children the wrong perception of how dangerous smoking can be and may encourage the behavior as they get older. This argument may be supported by research that has led to the ban of candy cigarettes in countries around the world. Research has shown that access to candy cigarettes may have played a role in children viewing smoking as acceptable behavior.  

Lollipipes are different from candy cigarettes in that the arguments about preventing disease and death from tobacco do not apply. I could not find any research on candy smoking pipes, maybe because they have only been available online since 2009 and seem to only more recently be making their way to store shelves. There are legal herbs that can be smoked by adults; however the concern that candy pipes may impact how children view pipe smoking and drug use seems to be a valid concern.

While the sale of Lollipipes is legal, if they are considered adult novelties then they should be treated as such and having them within easy reach and/or view of children and teens does not make sense.

SOURCES

Harrison-Martin, J. (February 28, 2012). Brownstown Twp.: ‘Lollipipe’ crack pipe-like candy taken off store shelf. The News-Herald. [online]

Klein, J.D., B. Forehand, J. Oliveri, C.J. Patterson, J.B. Kupersmidt & V. Strecher. (1992). Candy Cigarettes: Do They Encourage Children’s Smoking? Pediatrics. 89 (1). p. 27-33. [online]

http://lollipipe.com

O’Brien, C. (September 8, 2011). Lollipipes not a hit with some Spokane residents. KXLY. [online]

Tim Jones March 7, 2012 at 8:39 pm

Thanks for an interesting post. I just (very quickly) checked out what we can get here in the UK, and it seems solid liquorice pipes are in, as is ‘sweet tobacco’ – actually named as such that surprised me – but cigarettes seem to be out, chocolate or sugar. So I don’t see why the arguments around disease and death don’t apply to pipes – what with mouth cancer and such like.

Also noticed you can get marijuan leaf-shaped candy bars in the US, called Pothead Lollipops, which I guess you could mash up and stick in the pipes.

The debate around whether these sort of candies should be allowed if marketed as adult sweets is an interesting one. Of course it’s impossible to differentiate in practice, and makers/sponsors would deny any link or targeting to kids, as they do with ‘Camel Joe’ in the real tobacco world. For sure there’s a powerful allure to this stuff. As I kid, I loved chocolate cigarettes, even though it was the worst chocolate you could get, and would buy sweet tobacco just because I liked the novelty of it – and actually disliked the coconut it was made from. Funny thing the mind.

Pamela Barclay March 13, 2012 at 6:52 pm

I agree that the marketing debate about adult products that may be tempting for kids is interesting and there is ongoing research about these marketing tactics…here is a link to one article I found: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2005-11/hsop-rfc111005.php

Thanks for reading!

Angela March 8, 2012 at 10:11 am

So a lollipipe is basically an edible ashtray? Tasty… erm… er…
Thanks for the post – it made me curious about research on children as targets for future consumption.

Pamela Barclay March 13, 2012 at 6:54 pm

Angela, I agree! I am not sure how good the candy would taste after being filed and smoked. I do know that there is ongoing research being done on marketing tactics and children. Here is a link to one article that I found: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2005-11/hsop-rfc111005.php

Kristy E. March 13, 2012 at 10:55 am

You make a great point in your discussion about how these Lollipipes pose a potential threat to children. On the other hand, I wonder if a product like this could help some people quit smoking. Many of the older smokers in my family turn to hard candy when they are trying to quit smoking, just so they have something to put in their mouth every time they crave a cigarette. Usually, their attempts are unsuccessful in the long run. I wonder if they could smoke the candy (which sounds ridiculous to say!) if it might help?

Pamela Barclay March 13, 2012 at 6:56 pm

My understanding is that the candy is just a vessel and the consumer can smoke whatever they wish to put in it…the online vendors advertise it to smoke “legal smoking herbs”. I also have friends trying to quit and frequently use gum, toothpick, and hard candies to fight off cravings!

Cigar April 7, 2012 at 8:57 am

Smoking Pipe Tobacco in the 21st Century

Jimmy March 8, 2013 at 1:03 pm

Lol no ones going to use them for tobacco. They’re going to use them for pot. What I wanna know is If this could possibly crystallize my lungs with sugar? That would suck.

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