Is it any wonder that so many Boomers ended up smokers? Candy cigs were a hot item when I was a kid. The little white sugary sticks with the dyed red end were perfect for imitating adults (and teens) in the ultracool act of smoking.
You would open the box, take the cigarette out, tap it on your hand (you had no idea why, but Dad did it), fire up your imaginary match, and enjoy a drag.
The cigarette companies encouraged candymakers to “infringe” on their copyrights by making packages nearly identical to the real thing, as can be evidenced by this eBay photo.
Of course, this led to the next step, sneaking a REAL smoke.
Mom smoked Salems, I snuck one of those once and gagged. Dad would smoke for a while and quit for months. It was in one of his off periods that my friends and I scored a pack of Benson and Hedges 100’s.
We sat out in a field full of tall grass that hid us and smoked the whole pack, never inhaling. When I got home, Mom smelled the smoke on me and let me have it good.
The pain of that whipping, combined with having to use my candy bar money on something that you didn’t even eat, broke me of the habit at the age of seven. I never touched another one.
I was one of the lucky ones. Many of the kids who DIDN’T get caught were the ones who got hooked.