Of all the inhabitants of the Hundred Acre Woods, I suspect Owl would be the most likely to develop a smoking habit, puffing on a pipe packed with sweetly flavored tobacco, probably cherry berry.
Actually, Gopher would probably smoke too, but he’s not in the book you know.
But if you cured some tobacco with a honey run smell and marketed it with the brand name “Cookie Jar,” I think Pooh Bear might be tempted…
Early one morning, Kanga was out washing her laundry when she spotted Pooh walking alongside Eeyore. “Good morning, dears! Come on in! You two look so tired. Haven’t you eaten yet today?” “A yummy idea,” thought Pooh as he thanked Kanga and walked inside. As Kanga poured Pooh some honey and water, she called to her son, “Roo dear, can you gather some thistle for Eeyore?” As Pooh reached for his water, Kanga noticed a yellow packet peeking out of Pooh’s shirt pocket. “Oh My! Pooh, what are you carrying in that pocket?” A giggle burst from Pooh’s lips, “Hoo! I found these on the ground this morning, hunny flavored sticks! Mmm. What a taste!” “But,” he whispered with a paw concealing his lips from his companion, “I don’t think Eeyore likes them. He keeps coughing every time I smoke them around him.”
Eyes wide, Kanga asked Pooh to hide the cigarettes from Roo. “I don’t want him to start smoking those things, Pooh, he might get hooked.”
A few days later, Christopher Robin came to visit his beloved bear. “Why Pooh, your fur smells horrible! Come, let’s take a bath.” His friends, fearing Pooh’s addiction to these honey cigarettes, convened a meeting in rabbit’s hole. Piglet worried about Pooh not joining him for their morning stoutness exercises. Rabbit lectured the others on the health effects of smoking. And Tigger told the others he didn’t think frequent bathing would be good for their buddy. Kanga held Roo’s ears during that last remark, but even she knew that Pooh’s smell would hurt his friendship with Christopher Robin.
They concocted an intervention. Rabbit had learned from his many friends and relations that rabbits in a far corner of the Hundred Acre Woods had begun a carrot-eaters anonymous support group and were eager to help Pooh overcome his addiction.
Owl, a recovering alcoholic, sponsored Pooh and helped him through the 12 steps. He fell off the bandwagon a couple times, but in the end he went cold turkey when Christopher Robin told him he couldn’t come back until Pooh stopped smoking.
Judging by the cute little teddy bears on the side of this cigarette pack label, coddling cookie or honey jars (I can’t tell which), I’m probably not the first to make this connection. The hunny-guzzling Winnie the Pooh was a mainstay of children’s literature in the 1940s, even before Disney acquired the film and merchandising rights.
R.R. Tobin, a former salesman for Camel in Michigan, started marketing cigarettes under his own company in the 1940s and 1950s, launching the Cookie Jar label. (Read More about Tobin at Jim’s Burnt Offerings.) The package is exceptionally playful, featuring the teddy bears on the side and grandma’s blue cookie jar on the front. The font on the cover mimics what you might find on a mid-century cookie jar or in a cartoon strip.
I’m still waiting to discover the A. A. Milne story, “In Which Winnie-the-Pooh Discovers Tobacco and His Friends Plan an Intervention.” Write it as a fan-fiction! Until then, let’s just hope that silly willy nilly old bear remembers to put out his butts – we don’t want the Hundred Acre Woods catching on fire.
Update: Apparently, there is an entire Wiki devoted to Winnie the Pooh! If you don’t see new posts for a few days, you’ll know why! http://pooh.wikia.com/wiki/Main_Page