This Beloved Candy Was the World's First Smoking Cessation Product
PEZ Candy was originally sold as a mint to help people quit smoking!
Eduard Haas III was a manufacturer of baking powder. His product was selling well, and he decided to move into the world of peppermints. He developed a special process to cold-press peppermint tablets without losing their signature flavor. He called these tablets PEZ, which was an abbreviation of the Germain word for peppermint: pfefferminz.
The Candy Hall of Fame official website states that Haas was a big anti-smoking advocate. He "decided the peppermints might appeal to those trying to quit. PEZ was first marketed as a smoking alternative in the 1920s, using the slogan, 'Smoking prohibited, PEZing allowed'."
PEZ were originally sold in paper sleeves or metal tins. According to Smithsonian Magazine, "in the late 1940s, Haas realized that customers wanted a quick way to pick out a tablet with one hand, or share with a friend without dirtying the candies in the tin. Haas hired engineer Oscar Uxa to create a solution, and in 1949, the first PEZ dispensers were sold at the Vienna Trade Fair. The U.S. patent was granted in 1952."
Eventually, the interest in smoking cessation products died down, and PEZ responded by selling the tablets in fruity flavors and marketing them to kids as candy.