Thursday, 19 April 2012

Sweet, sweet cigarettes

When I was a child, you could buy many different kinds of sweet cigarette. My favourites were the chews. Do you remember them? A white chewy sweet the size of a real cigarette, wrapped in a realistic paper wrapper with a brown 'filter tip'. My brothers told me the paper was rice paper and you could eat it. You couldn't.

I don't have any pictures of the chews, but my next favourite were these, in cardboard packs with a sliding inner. The sweets were white and chalky, had a red-coloured tip, and came with a picture card in the packet. That was quite appealing, it had to be said. You could also suck the ends to a point, but I never did that, because I was too busy scoffing them.

At some point - it must have been the 1970s - someone realised that it was possibly not the most responsible marketing ploy to sell fake cigarettes to children. And so they became 'candy sticks'.
 As you can see, they didn't really go for a huge product rethink - just a change of name. And despite our 'nanny state' and the 'over-protection of children', these candy sticks are still available today. I must admit I still indulge in a packet occasionally. I have no idea if children still link them to cigarettes, but surely putting a white stick in your mouth to look cool is still the object of the exercise?
The other kind of sweet cigarette you could get was the chocolate flavour ones. Not actual chocolate, you notice, but that evil substance known as chocolate flavour candy. Now I knew these things tasted foul, but occasionally, I would spend my pocket money on a packet of these things. 
 It can only have been for the packaging. It did look like American cigarette packaging, and it was kind of cool to tap out a 'fag'. And sometimes I guess I just fancied a change from CurlyWurlys and a quarter of sherbert pips.

The packets in the last photo were bought more recently - within the last 5-10 years, I think. I was really surprised to find they could still sell these. Despite being 'sticks', the packaging is unmistakably that of a cigarette packet. Note the Village People-style cowboy on the 'Round-Up' packet, and the rope writing. So cool! I also love that they've named one of the brands 'Kamikaze'!
As a footnote, you might be interested to know that despite having access to these rather suspect sweet products as a child, I have never in my life been tempted to smoke!

2 comments:

Jane Housham said...

I LOVE these, specially the Round Ups. One of my most treasured things is a chocolate matchbook with a camp cowboy on it, which would go well with these.

Menopausalmusing said...

When I read this post I could almost taste sweetie cigarettes again... I never particularly liked the flavour of them but loved to emulate my mother and father's smoking habits. I never became a smoker myself but could flick imaginary ash off the end of my cigarette with aplomb!