New Trend? Kids Smoking Candy - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

New Trend? Kids Smoking Candy

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It seems innocent, kids smoking candy.

It happens in lunch rooms, on playgrounds and maybe in your own home.

But doctors and safety experts say this new trend isn't so sweet. Smoking candy certainly doesn't have the same negative effects as smoking real cigarettes, but there are some health risks.

Safety experts say kids are doing it, and they want parents to be aware of it, and to communicate with their teens.

Every so often, 18 -year-old Jeremy Froncek sneaks in a smoke break.

"Around the house, ya know, outside of work, the movie theater." he says.

But he's not puffing on cigarettes.

He's "smoking" candy!

Smarties to be exact.

It's a fad that's sweeping the country.

Children and teens are grinding small candy wafers into a fine powder, then sucking it through the wrapper or pouring it into their mouths, and blowing out the dust, mimicking a smoker's exhale.

Jeremy says, "eventually, as I got better at it, you know, it was just a cool thing to do."

A quick search on you-tube pulls up dozens of how-to videos created by children of all ages.

Some clips even show children snorting the sweet stuff.

Drug Safety Expert Peggy Sapp says, "Before I was sent the youtube videos, I had never heard of smoking and snorting smarties. It's quite a phenomena."

She's alarmed that kids are mimicking such dangerous and illegal habits, but says 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.", says Sapp.

What they don't realize? there are health risks.

Dr. Mark Shikowitz, an ear nose and throat specialist, treated a nine-year- old who had pieces of candy lodged in his nose.

"He told his parents that he felt his nose was burning."

The candy eventually dissolved.

Dr. Shikowitz says 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."

If the sugar sits in the lungs or in the nasal cavity for a prolonged period of time it could cause an infection.

Dr. Skikowitz says, "Any time you have a substance such as sugar in these areas, which are moist, it creates a terrific growth medium for bacteria."

Experts also worry that this trend could spark interest in real cigarettes or illegal drugs.

So, have an open and honest discussion with your children.

Jeremy says he never felt the urge to pick up a cigarette, and is careful with the candy.for now, he puffs to pass some time.

"Just when hanging out with friends, just to like show 'em. Kind of like a party."

The makers of the smarties candy released a statement calling the teens misguided, and saying that it "regrets that a negative message of this type has been sent to young people with the use of our product.".

 

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