Entries in Candy (7)


St. Paul, Minn., Cracks Down on Candy Cigarettes

Courtesy Tobi Lynden(ST. PAUL, Minn.) -- A mom-and-pop candy shop in St. Paul, Minn., got a Prohibition-style visit from authorities who threw the book at the owners for selling cigarettes and cigars to children, even though they were made only of bubble gum.

An official with the city's Department of Safety and Inspection who visited Lynden's Soda Fountain last week told the gum slingers to pack up their best-selling candy cigarettes, Big League Chew and bubble gum cigars, or face a $500 fine, proprietor Tobi Lynden told ABC News.

"This a tiny little shop.  We've got a soda fountain from the '50s, and sell nostalgic candy and ice cream.  It's a very neighborhoody place," Lynden said.

Citing a 2009 city ordinance that banned the sale of candy cigarettes for fear they'd promote smoking to minors, the health inspector told Lynden that she had to remove the offending candy or face the consequences.

Lynden complied and stored the candy sticks in the shop's basement away from the public.

When news of the crackdown hit Facebook, some took to the Web to complain.

"Wow.  Unfortunately, my grandson started smoking, and I am willing to bet he never saw a candy cigar or cigarette.  If they think that is the problem they need some new people on that committee," a woman named Becky Silver posted on the candy shop's Facebook page.

Lynden, a mother and a former nurse, said she was complying with the law but was torn as to its efficacy.

"I see both sides.  We don't want to be promoters of kids having lifelong cigarette smoking habits.  We care about kids and health.  But if the city is worried about cigarettes, maybe they should ban cigarettes," she said.

Maine and Tennessee have statewide bans on candy cigarettes, as do Thailand, Canada and Australia.

Calls to the St. Paul Department of Safety and Inspection were not returned.  Spokesman Robert Humphrey, however, told the Star Tribune: "We enforce this on a complaint basis.  This isn't taking time away from any major enforcement [actions]."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Candy Not So Dandy for a Lot of Trick-or-Treaters

Pixland/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- With Halloween nearly upon us, the American Dental Association and PopCap Games surveyed children ages 5 to 13 to gauge their feelings about the big day.

Not surprisingly, 94 percent of kids say they go trick-or-treating and two-thirds say it’s their favorite holiday of the year.

The most popular Halloween activities are in this order: trick-or-treating, dressing up in a costume and getting lots of candy.

But in something of a Halloween shocker, nearly eight out of ten youngsters agree that “too much candy is bad for me,” with slightly more girls than boys believing it to be so.  About two out of three admit they eat too much candy during Halloween.

Dentists and parents should take heart in the finding that 89 percent of kids would still enjoy Halloween if it was more about other fun stuff and less about candy.  While this may be wishful thinking on their part, 93 percent say they’d sooner accept a video game than a piece of candy.

Meanwhile, 42 percent of trick-or-treaters say they're concerned about getting cavities from munching on Halloween candy.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Fourth Grader Saves Best Friend’s Life

Mark Johnston/Daily Herald(OREM, Utah) -- A fourth grader in Orem, Utah, is being recognized Monday for a heroic act of saving his best friend’s life at school.

Noah Webster Academy honored 10-year-old Carter Helt for saving the life of his friend, who was choking on a jawbreaker candy.

“It was pretty scary. He was like turning purple and it was freaking me out,” explained Helt.

Helt came to Gary Anderson’s rescue last week.

Anderson, 10, had been such a good student he was rewarded candy from the famous jawbreaker candy jar in the school’s library. With excitement, Anderson picked out a spicy and hot cinnamon-flavored jawbreaker called the Atomic Fireball, and threw it into his mouth.

“I was sucking on it too fast and it went to the back of my throat,” said Anderson. “I started banging on desks and started pointing to my throat and then Carter came over.”

Helt, who was sitting in the library at the time, heard his friend choking and immediately ran over to help. He started performing the Heimlich Maneuver until the jawbreaker came out.

“I put my arms around his belly and pushed up, and it came out of his mouth,” said Helt. “I wasn’t sure it would work the first time, but it did.”

It was then Anderson realized his best friend since first grade had saved his life, and Helt had learned the Heimlich Maneuver only two weeks earlier.

“Yes I was really scared,” said Anderson. “And really happy after.”

After the incident, the two boys returned to class as normal. School director Rick Kempton went to find the two boys after hearing about the incident.

“I went over to the library where I heard it happened, and the two librarians in there were visibly shaken,” said Kempton. “They had already gone back to the classroom. I checked to make sure he was okay, which he was, and thanked Carter in front of the class for what he did.”

Noah Webster Academy school officials decided to honor Helt for his heroism in front of the entire school Monday.

Gary’s mother, Karina Anderson, said she was shocked when she received a phone call from the school, and even more shocked to find out a 10-year-old had saved her son’s life.

“I’m happy there was someone who was paying attention,” said Karina Anderson. “He knew what to do and he did it.”

Helt’s mother said she was also in shock after hearing about her son’s heroic act, and couldn’t believe it the first time he told her.

“He got in the car and he was really excited and said to me, ‘I saved my best friend Gary’s life,’” said Chrystal Helt. “I said, you did what? I was surprised! I was just really shocked because I didn’t even know Carter knew the Heimlich Maneuver. I probably would have panicked and done it wrong, so I’m surprised. It was really cool and I was really proud.”

As for the candy jar, school officials say they’ve gotten rid of the jawbreakers as a present. They’ve now been replaced with school supplies.

Kempton joked, “And if Gary chokes on those he’s going to be in trouble!”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


'Drunken Gummies' or 'Boozy Bears': Latest Teen Alcohol Craze

Hemera/Thinkstock(ORLANDO, Fla.) -- This is not your average bear.

Colorful gummie bears are being transformed into "boozy bears" or "drunken gummies," alcohol-laden candies that kids as young as middle-school-aged may be eating right under their teachers' noses.

Florida health officials are warning schools about the latest craze -- kids soaking gummies in alcohol and bringing them to school in clear plastic bags.

Apparently the gummy "worms" work the best for the purpose. Officials from the Lake County Safe Climate Coalition, a nonprofit group that targets youth substance abuse, have experimented themselves.

"Of course, we tried it," said the group's executive director, Debi MacIntyre. "You lay a couple of them in the bottom of a pan and the alcohol is gone by morning. They are long and skinny, and they actually plump up quite big."

These clandestine treats have been reported in New York and Nebraska, as well.

Two Florida teens told ABC News' Fort Myers, Fla., affiliate, WZVN, also known as ABC News-7, that drunken gummies are the latest trend in hiding alcohol use.

"I have to say they're pretty good," said Adam, 17.

"If [my parents] saw gummies in my backpack, I think they'd think, 'Oh, that's nice,' and not think anything of it," echoed Sarah, 17.

"It has a kick to it because of the alcohol, and it's fruity also," she said. "It's good. It would be better than taking a shot because shots just go down gross. So you just take a handful of gummies."

Cape Coral, Fla., police have also been warning parents about the candies, which are potent enough to make a child or teen drunk. One officer ate the gummies for one hour and was too drunk to drive, according to WZVN.

Numerous websites offer instructions on how to prepare the boozy candies: Put them in a flat cake pan and fill with alcohol. It absorbs within 24 hours, expanding the little bears to twice their size. Vodka gummy bears even have their own Facebook page.

The craze before vodka gummies were alcohol-laden energy drinks packed in juice boxes imported from Puerto Rico.

Teens are always finding new ways to surreptitiously engage in drinking, according to experts.

"Alcohol is such a rite of passage," said MacIntyre. "I have never seen a county so embedded in alcohol -- every function has alcohol in the middle of it."

At one time, Lake County was the sixth-top-county for underage drinking in Florida, but the coalition's prevention efforts pushed it down to 29th.

A 2011 public health report from the National Center of Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University revealed nine out of 10 Americans who meet the medical criteria for addiction began smoking, drinking or using other drugs before the age of 18.

Addiction is a "disease of adolescent origins," according to its report, and 72.5 percent of all high school students have consumed alcohol.

Susan Pitman, executive director of Safe and Healthy Duval County Coalition in Jacksonville, Fla., said the group's research shows that the vodka gummy bear craze was being reported on low-level blogs as far back as 2009.

"But now it's gone viral," she said. "We went to the Deval County Schools and opened up a Ziploc bag and they smelled them and said, 'Oh my gosh. We had no idea.'"

Most school officials "won't admit" the trend yet, according to Pitman.

"There is wide-spread use among the kids," she said. "We have a youth coalition and they say, 'Yeah, people are doing it right in front of teachers and parents.'"

In Florida, schools are required by law to report incidents of alcohol use to a student resource officer, but most administrators prefer to handle them internally.

"A bunch of cases could be quietly handled by administrators," she said. "We are a prevention organization and stay on top of the trends and figure out strategic ways to change behavior on the front end, rather than be punitive and be reactive at the back end."

Both Lake and Duval counties are targeting retailers who put ping-pong balls next to beer [for beer pong games] and asking their youth groups to notice the ways that alcohol retailers encourage the young to drink. In one project, they asked the groups to visit local fairs and report how alcohol is being used or abused.

Research on teens reveals that their frontal lobes -- the part of the brain that controls executive decision making and impulse control -- are not yet fully developed, making them prone to poor choices.

"Weighing the pros and cons and seeking solutions are beyond their capacity," said Pitman. "They are not bad or stupid -- they are just not able to do it yet. I look back to my teens. They think they are invincible."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Halloween Candy at the White House?

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The president and first lady will welcome local children and military families to trick-or-treat at the White House on Saturday.

The North Lawn is already decorated for the occasion, with fake cobwebs lining the drive and pumpkins piled throughout.

As the trick-or-treaters make their way across the lawn to the North Portico, which will be lit orange for the occasion, they will be entertained by the Marine Band playing Halloween music and spooked by actors in costume from Washington-area theaters.

While the president joked earlier in the week that the White House was in danger of being “egged” if the first lady kept handing out fruit on Halloween, it appears they’ve reached a compromise.

Children will receive a box of M&M’s, a White House sweet dough butter cookie made by White House pastry chef Bill Yosses and, of course, a serving of dried fruit.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Police Warn of Marijuana in Halloween Treats

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(LOS ANGELES) -- The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department wants parents to be on the lookout for marijuana-containing candy that could make its way into children’s trick-or-treat bags.

The department recently confiscated a number of different foods made with the drug from local marijuana dispensaries, including soda, candy and snacks.

While the sheriff’s department didn’t know of anyone who handed out marijuana-containing treats to trick-or-treaters in the past, they wanted people to know the foods were out there and not always easy to spot.

“If it doesn’t have a recognizable label on it,” said Sgt. Glenn Walsh, “if it’s not a recognizable brand, it should be considered at least potentially dangerous to the children.”

Even if items are labeled and indicate marijuana is an ingredient, once the label is removed, it’s difficult to tell the drug is in there.  One possible way to tell that the food contains marijuana is by a pungent odor or an odd taste, Walsh said.

Parents should inspect the candy their children bring home, he advised.  He added that parents should be aware of the signs that kids may have ingested marijuana-laced treats, including disorientation, possible confusion, dilation of the pupils, difficulty breathing, a rapid pulse rate and sweating.

But symptoms can vary, depending on factors such as a child’s weight, the drug’s potency and how much the child ingests.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Seventh Grader Calls Attention to Common Health Hazard

Comstock/Thinkstock(BOSTON) -- While some adults down medicine like it's candy, the reality is that these dangerous pills can often be mistaken for harmless confections.

Casey Gittleman, a 12-year-old Cincinnati youngster, conducted an experiment in which teachers and students were asked to distinguish medications and candies that were stored in a medicine chest.

At the American Academy of Pediatrics' National Conference and Exhibition in Boston, Gittleman told health officials Monday that the results were scary because adults and children often had a hard time figuring out which was which by just looking at them.

For instance, Tums antacids were mistaken for Sweet Tarts while Coricidin decongestant medication looked too similar to M&Ms.

Gittleman summed up her finding by saying, "I think that if companies that make medicines could make them to look less like candy, then less unintentional ingestions will occur in kids."

Health officials at the conference agreed with her assessment.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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