The owners of an old-fashioned soda shop in St. Paul, Minn. were threatened with fines and a misdemeanor citation unless they stopped selling novelty candy cigarettes.

City inspectors said Lynden’s Soda Fountain violated an ordinance barring the sale of candy cigarettes and cartoon character lighters. The ban also applies to items like Big League Chew chewing gum.

“I had no idea we were breaking the law,” owner John Lynden told Fox News. “I was shocked.”

Lynden said the white candy sticks with the red tips was a best-selling item at the store – especially among adults in their 40s and 50s.

“I never thought something candy would be contraband,” Lynden said. “We were selling them because we sell a lot of nostalgic candy and we have an old-fashioned soda fountain.”

A city spokesperson told The Star Tribune that the business was given a warning – but if they break the law – they could face a citation along with a $500 fine. The ordinance was enacted to discourage youngsters from eventually using real cigarettes.

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