Here's how it works: Kids crush the candy into a fine powder while it's still in its wrapper, tear off the end, and pour it onto a surface, then use a piece of rolled up paper to snort it through their nose. Another method includes pouring the powder into the mouth, inhaling, and blowing out the smoke through the nose, similar to a smoker's exhale.
And while it's hard to see the allure in snorting a combination of dextrose, citric acid, and natural and artificial flavors, that doesn't stop kids from inhaling the pastel-colored, chalky, tarty treat, reportedly in droves. That's a big mistake, says Jeremy Fine, MD, a Los Angeles based medical concierge internist. "The side effects of inhaling Smarties include nasal scarring, infection, and if you inhale hard enough, lung irritation," Fine tells Yahoo Shine. "There's also a risk for developing nasal maggots, which feed off things that shouldn't be inside the nose, such as sugar." Then, there's the sanitation factor. If the candy is crushed up on a dirty table or with, say, a hammer, whatever bacteria on those objects is also inhaled.
Snorting sugar is actually a timeless pastime — it's a twist on the 2007 Pixie Stix and Crystal Light challenges and a quick YouTube search reveals it's been happening for years. Whether it's an "epidemic" is dubious. Whether it's dumb is certain.
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