June, National Candy Month, is described by the National Confectioners Association as “a time to celebrate the authentic and fun candies that confectionery companies have been producing for over 100 years.”
What many people may not know is that candies have been used for years to help people quit smoking.
Today, millions of Americans use flavors that mimic these sweet treats to stay smoke-free. Candies and candy flavors are not new to efforts to help people quit smoking. A quick Google search provides links to many health groups recommending gum and candy to ward off the urge to smoke.
For example, while PEZ Candy is usually associated with plastic tubes and cartoon characters, the original candy has a habit of helping people quit smoking. In fact, the candy’s maker, Austrian Eduard Haas III, invented PEZ candy in the 1920s as an alternative to smoking. This well-known candy has been sold in the United States since 1952.
Over the years many, including health groups, have promoted the idea of replacing cigarettes with candy. In 1997, a tobacco company executive made the outlandish claim that cigarettes were no more addictive than gummy bears.
The Health Partnership Project and the California Medical Association Foundation took advantage of this claim and started the Bears for Butts program, which took place in California. A free bag of gummy bears, quitting tips and advice on avoiding second-hand smoke were given to everyone who returned their cigarettes.
A well-known pharmaceutical company uses fruit and candy flavors in its nicotine replacement therapy products and at one time used the advertising slogan “success never tasted so sweet”. TRNs are available in several options, including gum and pellets.
Over the past few decades, new products have emerged that have essentially snuffed out smoking rates in the United States. E-cigarettes are 95% safer than smoking and have approximately twice the smoking cessation efficacy of NRT.
Coincidentally, flavored vape products are preferred by adults, with the most popular flavors being fruit and sweets. Adults who vaped flavored e-cigarettes were also more likely to quit than those who did not.
Despite the misguided notion that “flavors hook the kids,” the number one reason young people give for experimenting with vapor products is curiosity, followed by family or friends who use them, then flavors. Non-smoking teens who have never tried e-cigarettes are the least interested in flavored vaping products. States like New Jersey have taken drastic measures to address youth usage issues and have banned the sale of all vape products that are not flavored with tobacco. Meanwhile, adults in New Jersey love fruit and candy flavors, with one of the state’s most popular candy brands being Starburst.
The public health line fades with candy, as a dentist invented the cotton candy machine (also known as cotton candy) in 1879. This candy has been enjoyed by people around the world and many adults have taken to including the flavor in other consumer products. , including cotton candy flavored vodka. Consumers are even indulging in bacon-wrapped cotton candy and cotton candy-flavored mac and cheese.
Former Sen. George Murphy, R-California, kept candy in his office to give to his colleagues, a tradition he started about 100 years after the Conversation Hearts were born. Today, members of Congress take turns stocking what has become known as the Candy Desk.
It’s rather odd that lawmakers partake in candy fun while trying to ban the fruit and candy flavored products that have helped thousands of their constituents quit smoking. Not only did these products help improve public health, but they also generated tax revenue and provided jobs for voters.
This National Candy Month, it’s time to recognize the role candy has played and continues to play in quitting smoking.
Kim Murray is a research fellow at the Consumer Center of the Taxpayers Protection Alliance. This column was provided by InsideSources.