________________________________________________________________________ Old fashioned candy store threatened with fine for selling SUGAR cigarettes
PUBLISHED:02:09 EST, 27 December 2012| UPDATED:06:27 EST, 27 December 2012
Owners of an old-school soda shop in St. Paul, Minnesota, have been warned to kick the habit and stop stocking novelty candy cigarettes.
City inspectors threatened a misdemeanor citation and $500 fine if Lynden’s soda fountain is caught selling the fake smokes again.
The Star Tribune reported on Wednesday that the offering violated an ordinance barring the sale of candy smokes and cartoon character lighters, which has been in place for nearly three years.
A city spokesman said the warning came after inspectors received and looked into a complaint about the presence of the tobacco-themed products.
The ban was enacted to discourage youngsters from picking up a real smoking habit.
Candy cigarettes, bubble gum cigars and bubble gum made to look like chewing tobacco have been among a host of vintage sugary treats that Lynden’s has kept in stock since it opened in April.
Shop owner Tobi Lynden says the white candy sticks with the red tips were her best-selling candy item but she pulled them to avoid running afoul of the ordinance.
‘We got busted by the City of St. Paul. Oops,’ the shop tweeted on December 19.
Lynden told the Tribune that nearly all of the candy cigarette purchases were made by adults.
‘”Oh, I had these when I was little,”‘ she said she would often hear.
‘We weren’t trying to promote smoking or tobacco use of any kind,’ Lynden added.
A spokesman for the city’s Safety and Inspections Department said the complaint came to his agency on December 13. Inspectors visited the candy store about a week later and had the fake cigarettes immediately removed from the sales floor.
The novelty cigarettes and cartoon character lighters were outlawed in April 2009 by the city’s council, which cited a study showing that the products encouraged youngsters to take up smoking tobacco.
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