Smarties candy is placing kids at risk as many try snorting it for fun. The candy isn’t expensive and is sold in gas stations and stores. A license is not needed and there are no age limits on buying them. Bags can be purchased in bulk for a few bucks. Kids are getting kicks from and placing themselves in danger by crushing the candy, rolling it in paper, and smoking or snorting it.
They do it for the rush and laughs, a prank egged on by peers who wait for the person who snorted to feel the fine powder’s inrush. The irritant brings on a hacking cough and wheezing. They all laugh. A big kick of the game is apparently watching the painful wince that forms on the face of the kid taking the dare. Snorting candy is a growing trend among a new crop of kids that is quickly gaining popularity, even though step-by-step how to videos have been posted on YouTube as early as 2007. To date, thousands of the videos with high risk consequences are up and running.
Portsmouth School District in Rhode Island sent out a letter to parents of its upper level elementary and middle schools warning of the dangers. Kids who snort candy are at risk for nasal infestation and scarring from maggots, allergic reactions, lung irritation or infection.
The snorting of Smarties candy is a health threat that places kids at risk. The dangerous side effects can cause serious harm. This is an issue for anyone with elementary and middle school-aged children, school officials and those charged with the care of children. After school programs and community-based youth programs should consider implementing programs aimed at education and prevention.
Dr. Gail Burstien, Health Commissioner for Erie County, told Sun News children snorting are susceptible to sinus infections, wheezing, asthma and chronic cough. Kids may also suffer lung infection as the irritant enters the body. Kids who are at high-risk for prophylactic shock from sugar reactions, risk dying.
In 2013, parents of 15 middle school students from Hamburg, NY received a letter from district officials alerting them their children were snorting Smarties. The trend is picking up around the country and parents are on alert.
The emulation and glorification of heroin and cocaine use found in movies and countless hours of Internet surfing is problematic. New videos post every day with people looking to become viral sensations. Not all of the videos are informative or educational. The Internet needs to be used under parental supervision.
Easy accessibility makes candy snorting an easy game with bad consequences. Parents can’t watch children around the clock, but they can have real discussions about the dangers, explaining why it is a horrible idea to try it even one time “just to see how it feels.” Snorting from rolled paper is an indicator that kids have seen or heard about cocaine, heroin and crushing pills. The anti-drug conversation can never happen too early. If children can die from snorting candy, the risk really isn’t much different from risk associated with drugs and alcohol. Danger is danger. Kids need to know that the snorting of Smarties candy, or other things, places them at risk. Silence will not protect them.
By C. Imani Williams