Thursday, December 27, 2012

It's Illegal to Sell Candy Cigarettes in St. Paul, Minnesota

Tobi Lynden opened Lynden’s Soda Fountain in St. Paul, Minnesota last April. It’s an old-fashioned soda shop, offering vintage candies and sodas.

A city inspector paid a visit on Tobi recently, threatening a $500 fine. Tobi’s crime is selling candy cigarettes, the sale of which was banned by a St. Paul ordinance in April 2009.

Candy cigarettes were her biggest seller.

Robert Humphrey, spokesperson for the St. Paul Safety and Inspections Department, said “We enforce this on a complaint basis. This isn’t taking time away from major enforcement [actions].”

Of course it is. Selling candy cigarettes has become a crime in St. Paul.

Even well-intentioned measures can lead to stupid results. It’s legal to sell cigarettes, often called cancer sticks, to adults in St. Paul, but it’s illegal to sell candy cigarettes, that is fake cigarettes, to anyone.

It’s still legal to sell toy guns in St. Paul, but not candy cigarettes.

Candy cigarettes have been around for a century. They look like cigarettes and are often packaged in faux cigarette packages. That leads to the argument that they encourage children to smoke when they get older. Thus, the move to ban them.

By the same reasoning we should ban candy canes and lollipops because who knows what adult behavior they might lead to. Savoring a Kiss could also trigger adult cravings, perhaps PDA’s.

Flicking a Pez could lead to the nostalgic act of flicking a Bic.

Velvet Turtles could lead to consuming terrapin meat and Gumni Bears to bear meat.

St. Paul has real issues; candy cigarettes are not one of them.

Congress is just as confused.

It banned candy flavored cigarettes in 2009, but candy flavored cigars are still legal. You can still light up a chocolate flavored stogie.

Tobi has complied with the city’s mandate, but on the store’s Facebook page appears this message: “Stop in and try a Soda at half price between now and the end of the year while sugar is still legal. Just tell the jerk ‘you heard we were busted’ to receive your 50% off on a handmade soda. Bring the whole family.”

Of course Tobi is right. If are worried about children’s health, including childhood obesity and diabetes, then ban all sugared candies and all other products, such as glazed or chocolate donuts, ice cream, chocolate pudding, apple pie.

You can’t buy candy cigarettes in St. Paul, but it’s OK to gulp down or consume copious amounts of sugar in the form of candy: Hershey’s, Nestles, Cadbury’s and M&M’s, Godiva’s and Sees, Dove Bars, Charleston Chews, Ruth, Orange Slices and Spearmint Leaves, gum drops, Jolly Ranchers, Canada Mints, Dots, Crows, Junior Mints, candy apples, Red Vines, licorice, President Reagan’s favorite Jelly Bellys, E.T.’s Reeses Pieces, Tootsie Rolls, candy corn at Halloween, chocolate Santas and peppermint sticks at Christmas, Easter bunnies, eggs and chicks at Easter, and hearts at Valentine’s Day, salt water taffy, Mounds, Almond Joys, Peppermint Paddies, York, not to mention cough drops.

That doesn’t even get us to the various sugared sodas, not to mention natural drinks, such as orange juice.

Eat your heart out on Valentine’s Day.

Life Savers and Jaw Breakers are the Dentist’s best friend.

Even if candy cigarettes are banned, we can still purchase toy guns.

Explain that to the city fathers of St. Paul.

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