St. Paul, MN – A shop owner found herself facing a $500 citation by authorities if she continued to sell candy cigarettes and cartoon lighters in her store.
Although the tiny sticks of sugar were once popular with children, many states have sought to ban the items from reaching the sales counter. According to The Associated Press, Lynden’s Soda Fountain owner Tobi Lynden was selling the treats quite steadily until government officials threatened her with a fine.
To stay in good graces with authorities, Lynden decided to remove the offending products from her store shelves. While she doesn’t necessarily agree with the ordinance, complying with demands is much easier than battling a $500 citation.
The St. Paul ordinance also prohibits the sale of candy cigars and bubble gum made to look like chewing tobacco. Although the store has carried these items since it opened in April, Lynden says she has since pulled the offending items from the racks.
“We had no idea. We don’t want to get on the bad side of St. Paul,” Lynden told the Star Tribune. “We weren’t trying to promote smoking or tobacco use of any kind.”
While most government officials don’t wander the landscape in search of stores selling candy cigarettes, Lynden said a customer complaint brought authorities to her door. In order to escape the misdemeanor citation, Lynden said she was forced to remove the products.
In her defense, the Lynden’s Soda Fountain owner said that almost all of the purchases of the sugary contraband were made by adults who enjoyed the treats when they were kids.
“We’re a tiny little soda fountain shop that specializes in vintage candies and vintage sodas. We never had any issues with it. People were always happy to see them,” Lynden explained to CBS Minnesota.
The St. Paul ordinance against such potentially offensive treats was spearheaded by a group of teenagers working alongside the Association for Nonsmokers-Minnesota. The organization spends quite a bit of time lobbying against tobacco products.
While demand is still there, Lynden said she has no choice but to refuse sale of candy cigarettes to anyone with a need to puff on a stick of sugar.