Sunday, May 08, 2005

Smoke em if ya got em.....

Can you believe that some candy companies STILL make this revolting, evil insidious candies?!!!! I have vivid memories of my childhood growing up in Kentucky about the little corner grocery store that was about two and a half blocks from our house. Most of these little places don't exist any longer as they have been replaced by huge mega-food stores ( Safeway, Krogers, etc..). But this was the early 70's and you could still find them. My father would give my older brother and I dollar and ask us to go up the the store and bring back a pack of Lucky Strikes. Cigarettes at that time were somewhere between 50 to 75 cents a pack. Whatever the cost, there would be change which we were allowed to keep and we usually purchased candy. You could get quite a bit of candy for 50 cents then.

One of my favorite sweets to waste my money on were those freakin candy cigarettes! They were nothing but ultra-white sugar sticks that had had the tip dipped in some sort of neon colored cancer causing red food dye. Some of them would actually blow out powdered sugar smoke!

So, not only was it bad enough that a 7 year old boy could walk into a store in Kentucky then and buy a pack of Lucky Strikes ( I actually did know kids who were smoking on the playground in elementary school!!!) , but we could also take our change and buy or own kid friendly versions of the same treat that we were bringing back home to our father!

Looking back now, I realize that the whole experience was a continuing circle of addiction spread from factory to worker to worker's child. There was a public service announcement that was very popular when I was kid called "Like Father, Like Son" which you can actually still view here.

Oddly enough, I can't even watch this now without tearing up. My mother died in 1989 at the age of 52 from complications from breast cancer. She didn't smoke, but she did live with my father for 25 years who was a heavy smoker. A new report from March of this year suggests a strong link between second hand smoke and breast cancer in women. SOme versions of this report state the risk as 90% higher than for those who aren't exposed to second-hand smoke:

My father died from cancer a little over 10 years later. He was 63.

I can't tell you how devastating the cancer deaths of my parents at such young ages were for my siblings and myself. I actually think that there are still many unresolved issues connected to their deaths and life without them that haunt each of my siblings and I that we may never be able to address. We were so young ourselves ( and actually we still our - the oldest of us at this writing is 41 and the youngest is 26), when they died that, at least for myself, I can't help but feel some empty void in my life at times. I could go on and on on this subject, but that would be best saved for a later date -

My real point is that smoking is total bullshit. Each of my brothers and I were sucked into the smoking circle ( I for 15 years easily - until I was finally able to quit over a year ago - however the craving never really goes away). My sister thankfully doesn't smoke, but is married to a man that does. I can't help but wonder if there isn't some connection in there somewhere...

Many people, including myself until this morning, thought that candy cigarettes were outlawed in the US. They are not. The companies were only forced to change the name to candy sticks - a lot like cancer sticks only different...

1 comment:

Mandy said...

I want so badly to ditch the deadly sticks. I try every now and then and keep hoping it will take. My Mom quit over 10 years ago and has never looked back but it took her several attempts before one finally stuck.
One the candy sticks- our favorite was to "smoke" them in the winter, at the bus stop. It looked like there was real smoke coming out of our lungs. Cool, huh?