Smoking children

A product I’ve not seen for a generation which may shock some readers outside Germany as much as it shocked me: bubble gum cigarettes.

Keep it from your parents

Keep it from your parents

These were banned in the UK as it was believed they were encouraging the very people to smoke cigarettes who need protecting from the harms of nicotine most: children. The belief was that if children learn from an early age that it’s cool to mope around like James Dean then later they will smoke themselves to death. As a kid I used to pretend to be cool with a bubble gum cigarette. On one occasion an old man told me off, not realising it was a sweet.

Fast forward, and now I’m a religious non-smoker. Despite the availability of this naughty product as a kid. In fact, despite the fact that I played with toy guns as a kid, I’ve never used a hand gun as an adult. Despite practising bomb dropping as a kid, I’ve not turned into a war lord.

But this is all little consolation to the companies whose markets were destroyed by government legislation. There’s little a company can do if whole product categories are banned, apart from lobby or sell them secretly anyway.

Alex Woodruff

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