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Chocolate Cigars: A Slippery Slope

June 24, 1998

Cookstuff (June 17) promoted chocolate cigars as a desirable gift for dads on Father's Day. Is the Los Angeles Times naive enough to believe that all they are promoting is a cute-packaged chocolate product?

This is no innocent chocolate gift. Instead it is a subtle message that cigars are an OK product for dad. The "Melt-in-Your--Mouth" headline reinforces the idea. Talk to a few families with a missing parent on Father's Day or Mother's Day because of a tobacco habit they couldn't quit. They won't be passing out any chocolate cigars.

The tobacco industry's goal is to promote tobacco use via anything from bubble-gum "chewing tobacco" to recent years' sexy come-on of celebrities smoking cigars. If they didn't create these chocolate cigars themselves, you can be sure they are delighted to have a (once)-renowned candy company do it for them. And the Los Angeles Times gives them free space.

WINIFRED MEISER

Quartz Hill

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