Fact Check

Was This Phillip-Morris-Branded Toy Lighter Set Real?

The product apparently came with a pack of bubble gum cigarettes.

Published Feb. 28, 2023

Mister Merry's Play Lighter Set, which came with a pretend lighter and bubble gum cigarettes, was a real product.

A popular nostalgia-based item on Reddit and elsewhere online is an image of "Mister Merry's Play Lighter Set" — a product from a time when marketing cigarettes to children was generally accepted:

This was a genuine product.

According to the Library of Congress Catalog of Copyright Entries, the set was copyrighted in January 1966. The same set is also included in a Mother Jones article about the work of Stanford professor and tobacco industry historian Richard Proctor, who provided that outlet with a picture of the same play lighter set in 2016. 

Because the historic and academic record both support the existence of this toy lighter set, we rate this claim is "True."


Office, Library of Congress Copyright. Catalog of Copyright Entries: Third Series. 1967.

Wilson, Grace. "Remembering Candy Cigarettes, Big Tobacco's Most Evil Way to Turn Children into Smokers." Mother Jones, https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2016/10/marketing-candy-cigarettes-tobacco-halloween/. Accessed 24 Feb. 2023.

Alex Kasprak is an investigative journalist and science writer reporting on scientific misinformation, online fraud, and financial crime.