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Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

By Darra Goldstein

Published 2015

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gag candy encompasses the candies with extreme flavors, funny names, unexpected ingredients, and surprising shapes that most children love. Some unusual candies, such as wax lips, were first manufactured in the nineteenth century. During the 1920s, the novelty candy trade offered chocolate-covered onions and cheese, and sweet pipes with tobacco made of little flakes of licorice.

A related genre was candy cigarettes made from chocolate or bubble gum (both wrapped in white paper), or from a chalky-tasting mixture of sugar and cornstarch. White with a pink tip, the latter looked something like real cigarettes. Some brands were made to exude a puff of powdery sugar if you blew into them, in imitation of smoke. Candy was packed into cellophane-wrapped, cigarette-sized packages emblazoned with real tobacco brands, such as Camel, Marlboro, and Chesterfield, but some companies used names that were merely evocative of the real thing, such as Lucky Star and Roundup, rather than actual brand names. In the 1960s, as concern about the health effects of cigarette smoking emerged, so did the fear that these candies might encourage children to smoke later in life. In response, some manufacturers altered their products. The word “cigarette” disappeared, and the products were renamed “candy sticks” or “stix.” Efforts to ban the sale and manufacture of candy cigarettes failed in the United States, although other countries have banned them.