ROCHESTER, N.Y., June 20 (UPI) -- A U.S. study suggests that children who play with candy cigarettes may become future cigarette smokers.
The study, published in the July issue of Preventive Medicine, shows that in a nationally representative sample of 25,887 U.S. adults, 22 percent of smokers said they had regularly had candy cigarettes as children, compared with 14 percent of nonsmokers who had eaten the candy cigarettes.
Twelve percent of smokers said they had never tried the candy, compared with 22 percent of non-smokers who hadn't, according to study leader Jonathan Klein of the University of Rochester.
Candy cigarettes are made of candy or gum, shaped into cylindrical sticks and sold in rectangular boxes roughly the size of cigarette packs. In the United States, candy cigarettes are typically displayed next to the bubble gum and the trading cards commonly sold in supermarkets and convenience stores, according to Klein.