One of your favorite childhood candies may soon be banned

Jace Amodo
PUBLISHED June 8, 2018 11:25 am
Are candy cigarettes harmless? Or do they promote smoking to children? Photos from Ecowaste Coalition/Facebook

(Inside Manila) Remember the good ‘ol days when the Internet wasn’t such a big deal? Playing outdoors with your friends, getting your sugar fix from the likes of the Bazooka gum with a short comic strip on its packaging or candy cigarettes to look cool. Such candies seem to have been reminiscent of our childhood but actually, the latter  is still alive today, and it might soon be banned in the country.

First, let’s address the obvious: smoking kills. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Tobacco kills more than seven million people a year. Over six million of those deaths are due to direct tobacco use and around 890,000 are due to non-smokers being exposed to second-hand smoke.

With alarming numbers at the table, the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control Alliance Philippines (FCAP) and the EcoWaste Coalition criticized the continuing sale of candy cigarettes imitating the names and packaging of cigarette brands for “subliminally encouraging kids to smoke.”

“Candy cigarettes desensitize children to the dangers of smoking, falsely instilling in their impressionable minds that smoking is harmless. Such a subliminal promotion of tobacco use entices children to try smoking and must be stopped to save our children from cigarette addiction later in life,” stated Dr. Maricar Limpin, Executive Director, FCAP.

EcoWaste Coalition chemical safety campaigner Thony Dizon said that the market of the product undermines the public health objective of cutting tobacco use among the Filipino youth. “Action is needed to halt this irresponsible marketing gimmick that can influence a child to get hooked on smoking in the future,” Dizon added.

Chamtion (Champion), Hoke (Hope), Marlbovo (Marlboro), Thullip Norris (Phillip), and Winson (Winston)—these are just some of the brands of white, make-believe-cigarette chalk stick candies you can get for P22 per package of 24 packs. Surprisingly, these aren’t registered with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), making it illegal to purchase and use by virtue of FDA Advisory 2018-08 issued January 23.

It’s true that it’s just a candy, but countless polls online and studies by researchers reveal that most parents, though admittedly guilty of feeling cool with candy cigarettes during their time, are hardly fans of the product. It introduces kids to the habit, pacifying them into something that should be avoided.

The FCAP and the EcoWaste Coalition believe that removing the product from the market will help reduce tobacco consumption among Filipino children and youth and boost the country’s on-going programs that fight the addiction. And perhaps it will. Besides, there are a lot of other candies to give to your young’uns.



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