It’s amazing, the new things that kids these days keep coming up with. It’s also quite disturbing. The latest trend among students in the US is “Smoking Smarties”. The term refers to the crushing and inhalation of certain types of candy. This has become a cause of concern among drug educators.
The students, who are often in middle school, crush candy such as Smarties or make use of powered candy such as Pixy Stix. Powder drink packets such as Kool Aid are also widely used. They snort the powder into their noses. Some of them even inhale the powder from a packet directly through their mouths, blowing out fine granules that look just like smoke through their nostrils. It’s their own way of imitating smokers.
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Carol Williams who is a project coordinator of the Shelby County Drug Free Coalition Project Safe Place Programs of Family Connection, Inc., says that the kids are literally inhaling sugar into their bodies. While the sugar does not act as a narcotic and they aren’t really getting high, the behavior is still unsettling to Williams and other drug educators. Candy companies aren’t very enthusiastic about this development either. According to Williams, the habit could lead to infections in the sinuses and upper respiratory system, since powdery sugar dust is being inhaled directly into the nasal cavities. But this isn’t the biggest of concerns. The willingness to experiment and try different things, is. The present behavior could be a foundation to smoking cigarettes, consumption of alcohol, or even marijuana.
Williams first came to know of the practice three years ago, when a student from middle school asked her what Smoking Smarties does. Ever since, she has been receiving such questions more frequently. The phenomenon has spread to the internet as well. I found several videos on YouTube that show young kids smoking candy powder. In fact, tutorial videos are also available, teaching kids how it’s done.
Two years ago, Smarties Candy Company started to respond. In an official statement, Vice President of sales and marketing, Eric H. Ostrow, condemned the practice. Parents have also been alerted by the Drug Free Action Alliance in Columbus, Ohio. They said that parents should take up the opportunity to speak with their children about harmful effects of drugs and other addictive substances.