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Tuesday, December 29th. The holiday season is mostly a time of cheer. But it’s also a time for that frequent winter misery — the common cold and the cough that often goes along with it. Seeking treatment for that symptom, let alone a cure for the cold, has a long history.

In 1852, the sons of a restaurant owner and confectioner in Poughkeepsie, New York, began selling their father’s cough remedy. James Smith developed his first batch of candy cough drops in 1847.

By 1872, the popular “Smith Brothers” remedy was packed in boxes for distribution and sale, becoming one of America’s first factory-packaged candies.

The 44,000 drug stores nationwide generate around $270 billion in sales annually, including cough drops and other nonprescription medication.

You can find more facts about America from the U.S. Census Bureau, online at

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Joseph Nathan Kane, Kane’s Famous First Facts, Fifth Edition, H.W. Wilson Co., New York, NY 1997, #3963

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