No rules

Our Parents Smoked So Much Ashtray’s Were Accepted as Gifts from Little Kids

It was a common everyday thing

Toni Crowe
3 min readDec 31, 2023


A smoking cigarette in a red ashtray
Photo by Sujith R on Unsplash

I found an ashtray my son made for my mom when he was ten.

What were we thinking? Can anyone tell me why adults thought it was a good idea for our children to make ashtrays as gifts? My son was excited to give my mom the ashtray he had made at school with his own two little hands.

Then all of us — she, me, and him — along with my five younger brothers and sisters — all sat together in the living room while my mom smoked cigarettes and extinguished them in her new gift ashtray, one after another.

The room was full of smiling people breathing in second-hand smoke. I am going to bet we also sent my ten-year-old to the store to buy the cigarettes my mom was smoking. Ma smoked Kools. I would buy my mother Kool cigarettes on my way to visit her. She was a chain smoker and always needed more cigarettes.

Back then, kids could buy cigarettes for their parents. Hell, cigarettes were in vending machines everywhere. Our corner store would also let the children buy liquor to take home if they had a note from their parents. My mom had a standing note at the corner store. Any of her children could buy her beer as needed. That also meant we could buy cigarettes and beer for ourselves whenever we wanted.

Your small child could go to the store and get you an alcoholic beverage and a smoke. A drink and a smoke are put directly into your hands from your child’s hands. No wonder so many children were addicted to cigarettes by the time they were twelve. Children watched cigarette commercials on television and would then try out brands.

All I can say is I am glad we are not unaware of the safety and health hazards of cigarette smoke anymore. We would be horrified these days if a ten-year-old gave a grandparent an ashtray and handed them a pack of cigarettes and a beer. At least, I think we would. Right?

More Of Toni Crowe’s Family

Read about Toni Crowe’s struggles in university in her book Zero to Family Hero. She received her Electrical Engineering degree despite being the first on her mother’s side to attend college. Priceless for the first person to go to college in a family. Available on and Kindle Unlimited.

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Toni Crowe

Sharing the hard lessons I've learned in life. Best-selling author. Humorist. Editor. Writing whatever interests me . Owner: No Air. Editor:MuddyUm.