Smoking and Sniffing Smarties: Who Knew?

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photo by Smarties

What will they think of next?

In an attempt to get high, to look cool, or maybe both, some tweens and teens have taken up the habit of smoking or sniffing Smarties candy (tart, chalky candy discs wrapped in cellophane).

Some kids, believing that they get a "sugar high," have even posted how-to videos on youtube and myspace. Although the kids are not "smoking" in the classic sense (they're not lighting up), they crush it into a fine powder in its wrapper, draw it into their mouths and then blow it out in a cloud of dust which they inhale. "Sniffing" is just what you'd imagine, simply snorting the powder form of the candy up one's nose.

Fox News reports:

Health experts fear the behavior may lead to harmful conditions. Some kids have already shown signs of developing a “smoker’s cough.” Oren Friedman, a Mayo Clinic nose specialist, cautioned that frequent use could lead to infections or even worse, albeit rare, conditions, such as maggots inside the nose.

Ewww.

Unfortunately, this trend is rapidly spreading throughout the country.  The larger question is, for the kids who do this, is the next step the real thing? Pediatrician Dr. Lisa Thornton recently appread on CBS' Early Show  to discuss the health risks associated with this disturbing fad.

"If you look at the behaviors this is promoting, it's promoting this pre-smoking behavior. There's this whole ritual around how these kids do this, and it looks like smoking. So I'm concerned that the next step is smoking," Thornton said.

She added the the coughing effect is a result of  inhaling sugar into the lungs. "But the health risk of sugar is the least of their problems," she said.

I definitely remember candy cigarettes growing up. In retrospect, that was obviously bad idea for children. But now it seems drug culture has permeated American culture so thoroughly that kids make their own play vices.

Thoughts? Have you heard of smoking Smarties or any other candy?