(Photo: Reuters/Fred Prouser)
A "candy cigarettes" fine of $500 could be slapped on a soda shop in Minnesota if it refuses to stop selling the controversial product, according to reports out this week.
Lynden's Soda Fountain, which is an old-fashioned soda shop, opened in April in St Paul, Minn. However, the shop has caused controversy after selling so-called candy cigarettes.
The store has now said that it would heed the warning of a potential fine threatened by city inspectors.
St Paul City Council passed a ban on candy cigarettes and cartoon character lighters in April 2009, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
Lynden's Twitter account has since posted this message: "We will no longer carry candy or bubblegum cigars or cigarettes. We got busted yesterday by the City of St. Paul. Oops."
The store though is not taking the threat too seriously and has mocked the City Council by inferring that authorities would soon ban sugar as well.
"Stop in and try a Soda at half price between now and the end of the year while sugar is still legal!" the store wrote on its Facebook page on Thursday. "Just tell the jerk 'you heard we were busted' to receive your 50% of on a handmade soda! Bring the whole family!"
The Facebook page also posted a photo of the offending candy cigarettes with a caption saying, "Guilty."
The shop has insisted that when it sold the product it was unaware at the ban operating in the region banning it.
A city inspector had threatened that the store would a $500 fine and a citation if it didn't stop selling the candy cigarettes. However, it only initially issued a warning and expected the store to abide by the law in the future.
Store owner, Tobi Lynden, has told the Star Tribune: "We had no idea. We don't want to get on the bad side of St. Paul."
She added, "We weren't trying to promote smoking or tobacco use of any kind."
St. Paul Safety and Inspections Department spokesman Robert Humphrey said, "We enforce this on a complaint basis. This isn't taking time away from any major enforcement [actions]."