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Candy-smoking videos set parents on edge

Author Alex Bellamy
Submitted 25-03-2009

A new trend that is sweeping the nation’s schools has left some fathers and mothers unsettled: instructional YouTube videos showing kids how to "smoke" Smarties candies.

Basically, the videos demonstrate how to crush the candy into a fine powder within its wrapper, open one end to suck in the sugar, and then blow the dust out to make it look like smoking.

The activity has apparently caught on at schools across the country, causing some principals to ban the practice and call on moms’ and dads’ parenting skills to help control its spread.

Why all the fuss? One potential concern raised by some doctors, educators and parents is that pretending to smoke too easily leads to the real thing.

"It’s promoting pre-smoking behavior," pediatrician Dr. Lisa Thornton told NBC’s Early Show. "It looks like smoking, so I’m concerned that the next step is smoking." Other health professionals say inhaling the candy could also irritate noses and throats.

The makers of Smarties, Ce De Candy, say they do not promote smoking the candy. The company’s Eric Ostrow also pointed out to the Wall Street Journal that the same effect could be achieved "with anything made with sugar and compressed."

Until the trend loses its appeal, experts suggest fathers and mothers should sit down with their kids and discuss the real risks of smoking.