Snorting Smarties: Danger re-invented

Smarties are a popular Halloween candy. Now they are popular to be snorted amongst teenagers. Photo by: Parker Winget
Smarties are a popular candy to eat. Now they are popular to snort among teenagers. (Photo by Parker Winget)

Parents are used to telling toddlers not to put candy up their nose, but apparently they need to tell their teenagers the same thing.

The fad of snorting Smarties, the popular candy, is sweeping the country’s middle schools and causing health issues for young teenagers. Many kids are snorting Smarties to feel cool, be different or just show off to their friends.

“I did it because I was one of those people that did anything I was challenged to do. I wanted to be crazy,” said Mitch Cizmas, a freshman from Las Vegas. “The feeling was all a mind thing. I just felt like I was cool, so it made me feel like I actually did something. But it did nothing.”

Middle schoolers are crushing up Smarties and snorting lines of it just like people snort cocaine. But instead of a high, it provides a pain in the nasal cavities, and for some a bloody nose.

“I got quite a long bloody nose every time,” said Porter Hanna, a sophomore from Montana studying exercise science. He snorted Smarties multiple times when guys on his sports teams told him it would be fun. “It’s a dumb copy of drugs that doesn’t do anything.”

Several BYU students have tried snorting Smarties, and many did not have the sugar rush promised them by friends.

“It felt like you had a lot of crap up your nose and you just wanted to sneeze it all out,” said Anna Allred, a freshman English major from Idaho. “I never did it again; it hurt too bad. And I didn’t get the sensation my friends said I would.”

This fad came to national attention in early January when a school district in Rhode Island sent notes home to parents. The note warned them of the fad that was sweeping their schools and being promoted through YouTube videos and explained the possible side effects.

Side effects can include pain, infections, chronic coughing, bleeding, asthma and even death, in extreme cases, according to Shari Gordon, a registered nurse from South Jordan. In rare cases, maggots will feed off the sugar dust that remains in the nose, she said.

“If my kids did this, I would show them the side effects,” Gordon said. “Kids need to see stuff; they need to understand that there is more than just a sugar rush. Seeing maggots in someone’s nose would hopefully get them to stop. I would do the same with cocaine, heroin or any other drug.”

With kids copying drug-related behavior, many worry that snorting Smarties is a precursor to more dangerous behavior.

“Snorting Smarties is mimicking bad habits,” said Emily Louder, a senior nursing major from Orem. “It may seem fun and harmless at the time, but it makes it easier to do the same thing in the future except with a much less innocent substance. Snorting Smarties as a kid makes drugs look more acceptable or normal as an adolescent or adult.”

Alyssa Damron, a senior sociology major from Montana, agrees.

“A kid would be more likely to snort an illicit drug if he or she has done the action before, even in play,” she said.

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