Ever since chewing gums entered the market in the 2nd part of 19th century, manufacturers and promotes constantly tried to expand their audience and reach customers in new age groups. One of the most successful products that targeted kids in early 1900s were bubble gum cigars, chewing gum products that were intentionally created to emulate the look of cigarettes. Created to be very sugary and attractive to kids, these popular sweets started being made not only in chewing gum form but also from chocolate, chalky sugar and several other confectionery materials and aromas. On the outside, their packaging tried to emulate the packaging of the ordinary cigars, but with clear signs that this product was indeed only candy. When opened, individual sticks of gum have hidden a roll of paper below, giving the child the opportunity to play with the “fake cigarettes” a bit before removing paper and starting to enjoy the product.
While bubble gum cigars almost always stuck to this basic design, other forms of candy cigarettes tried to offer additional features such as a thin layer of powdered sugar that was placed between candy and wrapper. This enabled children to blow air through a cigar, producing the fake smoke on the far end of the stick. Some of the bubble gum cigars (and in general, other candy cigarettes) sometimes can be found with their tip being colored in red. This coloring was there to signify that the fake cigarettes were lit.
Since this type of sweet confectionery is promoting the harmful to health items to kids, opponents of bubble gum cigarettes were numerous from the moment they started becoming popular all across the world. The pressure from public and several commissioned examinations of their impact on kids (none with conclusive results) caused bubble gum cigarettes to become much more regulated than other candy products. In many countries modern gum cigars have to have specific markings and warning signs on their packaging, their promotion is limited, and the final design of the edible product has to fit with the rules (or common practices). For example, bubble gum cigarettes with red colored tips are very rare because manufacturers do not want to emulate cigar designs so much in fear of causing a public reaction from parents.
Parent reactions shaped much of the history of bubble gum cigarettes. Pressures from the public that lasted almost throughout entire 2nd half of 20th century caused smaller sales and a reduced number of new designs while the promotion and sales were severely limited or even completely blocked in several countries. For example, candy cigarettes are banned in countries such as Brazil, Norway, Finland, Ireland, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and the entire city of Singapore (except when prescribed by doctors), while partial bans are present in Canada (where candy cigars cannot resemble actual tobacco cigar brands) and New Zealand.
Even now the candy cigars of all types are getting the almost constant negative reputation from public, where parents do not want their kids to get attached to the candies that promote items or substances that are dangerous to health.