Once again, I heard an item during the a.m. news that involves teens and a new trend. The trend is performing a smoking ritual with the candy known as Smarties. You take a plastic tube of Smarties, crush the candy up until it’s powdery, and pull on it with your mouth like it’s a cigarette. You don’t light the candy, and you’re not supposed to inhale. Users puff the candy out of their mouth and it looks like smoke. This hit the news because a number of teens have posted videos of themselves on Youtube teaching how to “smoke Smarties.” In Frisco, Colorado, a middle school principal has made possession of Smarties a punishable offense.
I watched a few of these videos just to see what all the fuss was about. Here’s Titus’ video. The teens that I watched seem to see this as a better alternative to smoking. No health risks. Some medical professionals aren’t sure. In a number of videos, the teens start coughing in the middle of the tutorial. If you accidentally inhale the candy, you are putting sugar in your lungs, which is not good apparently. Also, there is a chance of getting maggots in your nose. Others are worried that the physical act of smoking, whether it’s tobacco or candy, will lead to smoking addiction later on. In the Wall Street Journal article “Just Say No . . . to Smarties?” it says some students are snorting the candy, but only a few.
I see this as relevant to us because it involves the transfer of information using social networking sites. I am not convinced this smoking ritual is harmful. But it might be an interesting topic to bring up with your branches’ teens. “Do you know people who are smoking Smarties?” If they say yes, you can ask them if they think it’s safe. How do they know it’s safe when there are many opinions. Or even if they don’t know about this yet, offer it as a research topic. You can’t get more current, since it just hit the news this past week. The teens interviewed feel one way about it, and some health researchers are skeptical. One school’s principal is downright against it. Ask the teens to decide what their take is, but they have to base it on facts. What is a good source of information and how do you decide who to believe.
I wonder if the Teen Health and Wellness Database covers this yet?