Have you heard the news story today that the latest tween fad is crushing Smarties (the candy) into a powder and then snorting it? Or smoking crushed Smarties by putting the powder in their mouths and attempting to blow it out of their noses.
To prove I'm not making it up, check out this news story on it.
Any tween parents knows that kids at this age occasionally defy all logic. They do things that make no sense. And by no, I mean none. Zip, zilch, zero. You start the tween years spending a lot of time trying to figure out "why" and after a few years, you realize sometimes there is no good answer. This is easier for some parents to accept than others. (I fit firmly in the other category.)
I tried to find an answer for why kids would snort crushed candy, wondering if there was a high associated with doing this. The Los Angeles Times reports that there is no Smarties high, though some kids did report a burning sensation.
When it comes to snorting Smarties, however, there are a lot of answers for Why Not. Snorting Smarties can be dangerous. Doctors have warned about the following:
- lung irritation,
- infection, and
Unfortunately, I am not making these up. Yes, tweens are inhaling sugar up their noses and the fine sugar dust stays in their nostrils. The maggots follow the food, in theory. The good news is that, according to Snopes.com, contracting nasal maggots from it is a remote possibility not yet observed in real life.
Still, it's a disgusting thought. I'll give you a second to clear it from your head. (shake, shake, shake)
I think it may be that horrific, attention getting thought which captured the media's attention and led this story to take off.
In actuality, this may not be the cause for widespread parental panic that the media would have us believe.
It seems that this snorting is happening occasionally, but Snopes updated its page today to say "snorting Smarties appears to be far more a subject of gossip than actual practice, documented health problems stemming from actual occurrences of it are few and mild." This is a good lesson for parents to not freak out, and a good example for tweens to evaluate what they see in the media.
Other than do your own research (and teach your kid to do the same), parents can do a few other things:
1. I always come back to the answer of talk to them about it. If nothing else, they'll know that you know.
When I mentioned it my tween daughter tonight she gasped in horror and said in quick succession,"Oh my God! Why? Ew! You mean up their noses? That's disgusting. And it's dumb. Smarties are good. I wouldn't waste the precious few I get by crushing them."
Then she asked if it could cause infection. (Hey, maybe she'll be doctor!) I referred to the above doctor warnings.
She hasn't been right since and didn't eat a lot of dinner. But her shock and awe made me feel better.
2. Monitor what your kids are doing and seeing on the Internet. Kids are watching YouTube videos of other kids snorting Smarties, and then copying the behavior they witness.
Frankly, this story makes me sad. It's tales like this that give tweens a bad name. I know that they often make no sense, but I worry that the insane acts of a few sugar sniffers gives a whole age group a bad name.
3. Be aware of huffing. Huffing is the inhaling other household chemicals that gives the person inhaling a high. It is common among tweens, and it is very deadly. Find out more about the practice and how to talk to your kids about it here.
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Filed under: Health, Body & Fitness