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