"Candy cigarettes" bring warning for St. Paul sweet shop owner

A St. Paul, Minn., sweet shop has been warned to stop selling "candy cigarettes" and other tobacco-themed treats, or risk a fine.
CBS Minnesota

(CBS/AP) ST. PAUL, Minn. - Owners of an old-school soda shop in St. Paul, Minn., are being warned to quit the habit of selling their popular novelty candy cigarettes.

City inspectors threatened a misdemeanor citation and $500 fine if Lynden's soda fountain is caught selling the fake smokes again. The Star Tribune reported Wednesday that the offering violated an ordinance barring the sale of candy smokes and cartoon character lighters.

A city spokesman says the warning came after inspectors received and looked into a complaint about the presence of the tobacco-themed products. The ordinance was enacted to discourage youngsters from picking up a real smoking habit.

According to CBS Minnesota, the news was a surprise to owner Tobi Lynden, who opened the shop last April. She says the candy cigarettes were best sellers and mostly purchased by adults.

"We're a tiny little soda fountain shop that specializes in vintage candies and vintage sodas," Lynden said. "We never had any issues with it. People were always happy to see them."

In addition to the candy cigarettes, the inspector removed the Big League Chew and the bubble gum cigars, CBS Minnesota reports.