Alarming Trend: Kids Literally Smoking CANDY
It Sounds Bizarre, But Just Take A Look On YouTube And You'll See It's Very Real -- And Very Dangerous
It's taking place in lunchrooms, playgrounds and classrooms across the tri-state area.
It may even be happening in your own home -- kids smoking candy.
But doctors and safety experts say this new trend isn't so sweet.
Every so often, 18-year-old Jeremy Froncek says he sneaks a smoke.
"Around the house, ya know, outside of work," Froncek said.
But he's not puffing on cigarettes. He's "smoking" candy.
It sounds bizarre -- even impossible. But kids grind up pieces of candy -- like "Smarties" â€“ and they actually inhale the fine candy powder then blow it out like cigarette smoke.
"Eventually, as I got better at it, you know, it was just a cool thing to do," Froncek said.
And that's what has parents and drug counselors so concerned. A quick search on YouTube shows dozens of how-to videos created by children of all ages. Some clips even show children snorting the sweet stuff.
"Before I was sent the YouTube videos, I had never heard of smoking and snorting Smarties," drug safety expert Peggy Sapp said.
Sapp was alarmed that kids are mimicking such dangerous and illegal habits, but said kids often do what's "in" to fit in.
"Who doesn't want to be cool? To get on YouTube and they have become instant celebrities with their peer groups," Sapp said.
But doctors warn this is dangerous. Mark Shikowitz, a Long Island ear nose and throat specialist, treated a 9-year-old who had pieces of candy lodged in his nose.
"He told his parents that he felt his nose was burning," Dr. Shikowitz said.
The candy eventually dissolved, but Shikowitz said kids could also accidentally inhale the fine powder down the wrong pipe.
"That irritation can cause you to cough, can cause you to laryngospasm, which is your voice box spasming and closing," Shikowitz said.
If the sugar sits in the lungs or in the nasal cavity for a prolonged period of time it could cause an infection.
"Any time you have a substance such as sugar in these areas, which are moist, it creates a terrific growth medium for bacteria," Shikowitz said.
Experts also worry that this trend could spark interest in real cigarettes or illegal drugs.
The company that manufactures Smarties said it "regrets that a negative message of this type has been sent to young people."
Alarming Trend: Kids Literally Smoking Candy - wcbstv.com