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Do You Let Your Kids Smoke?

img_1052Candy cigarettes, that is?

With a little time to kill before I picked up my daughter from preschool the other day, I took a stroll down a popular street in San Francisco and was practically stopped in my tracks when I saw a display of candy cigarettes in a hardware store’s post-holiday sidewalk sale extravaganza.

I hadn’t seen those things for years, but I remembered a time when you could pick them up right beside a pack of Rolos or JuJu Bees. Now, they seem to reside in novelty shops or, in this case, the hardware store. Thinking there was probably a $5 tax tacked on to the price, I passed the opportunity to buy them again. Plus, they seemed to be “hobo” brand coffee-flavored cigarettes, and that just sounded disgusting.

But it got me wondering: Would I let my daughter “smoke” one?

It’s a philosophical gray area for me. As a child, I used to smoke fake cigarettes and I never developed a habit — I did take up occasional smoking in high school, though that probably developed because of peer pressure and stupidity, not the rose-colored memory of corn starch smoke rings. And yet, do I really want her to get the idea that a thoroughly nasty and unhealthy habit borders on the precipice of fun? I’d be deluding myself if I didn’t think she’d grow up and smoke with her friends — I’d wager almost all kids at least try cigarettes, if not become casual smokers of them — but I don’t need to instill the idea that this is, somehow, OK.

What are your thoughts on candy cigarettes? Harmless fun or gateway to something dangerous?

I’m bordering on harmless fun. So long as I don’t make a big deal over them, I’m sure she won’t either.

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