Drug Policy

Crack (Candy) Babies


Bad Candy Ruins Children

A Wall Street Journal article from late March is slowly making the rounds. The hip thing for little whippersnappers to do, apparently, is crush up Smarties into a fine powder, take a big hit, then exhale what looks like smoke. Let the countdown begin.

Salvia divinorum put state legislators into a panic. When will they discover the next dangerous menace (thanks YouTube!) and pass frenzied legislation outlawing the sale, possession, and ingestion of candy?

The "alarming trend" follows in the grand tradition of glue, N2O cartridges, and Snoop Dogg-approved Pot Suckers as the next, cool way to get high be silly and scare the crap out of adults.

As kids in elementary school, my friends and I used to take the powdered candy that came in fruit-shaped containers and do lines off the cafeteria tables. This new menace to childhood, however, has become a cause for concern thanks to the Internet:

The phenomenon of smoking Smarties–a candy that has been around for six decades and is different from the candy-coated chocolates of the same name popular in the U.K.–has led to dozens of how-to videos on video-sharing Web sites.

Some of the children attempting the feat are caught on camera hacking in a spew reminiscent of a smoker's cough. Others have perfected the art of blowing Smarties smoke rings; some can even exhale through their nose.

Predictably, Smarties are already being set up as a gateway drug candy by drug safety experts and doctors are–understandably–saying the activity could cause nose and throat irritation. So far, though, only one incident is being touted as an example of don't-let-this-happen-to-you-junior:

Last month, Mark Shikowitz, an ear, nose and throat doctor at Schneider Children's Hospital in New Hyde Park, N.Y., treated a boy about 9 years old who complained his nose was burning because of a Smarties incident. (His parents brought in a Smarties wrapper but weren't sure how he'd ingested them.) Dr. Shikowitz determined that part of a Smarties must have lodged in the boy's nose until it dissolved. The child wasn't harmed.

In order to give the health risks a better kick, however, the WSJ does manage to mention another possible side effect: sugar-hungry maggots feasting on the nasal cavity.

It should be interesting to see how the Smarties epidemic pans out. One middle school principal in Wisconsin didn't seem worried: kids have imitated adults in innocent ways for years. One Alabama principal, however, has declared smoking Smarties a "Class II offence," punishable by…detention.

Senior Editor Jacob Sullum has the Salvia hysteria covered here, here, here , here aaannnnd here. Reason covered Pot Suckers, too. And don't forget to check out the adult version of smoking Smarties: candy-flavored meth. Reason's drug stash here.

Below, "Smartface" fmsmonkey schools all the squares out there on how to look cool:

High Five: Boing Boing

NEXT: The Good Kind of Pirates

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  1. Smarties are the greatest candy ever.

  2. But not the Canadian fake M&Ms made with nasty chocolate smarties.

  3. I used to “smoke” those bubble gum cigs that were wrapped in paper because the powder used to prevent them from sticking to the wrapper looked like smoke when you blew it out. But as my parents never smoked I never smoked either. Maybe if today’s parents would step up and cuff twerps like this wanna be in the back of the head more often we wouldn’t have a drug problem.

    Remember smack twerps…its for the kids

  4. I foresee a detention overcrowding crisis.
    1 in every 5 american children will be doing an hour in the big room.
    A disproportionate percentage of them will be black.

  5. Say, when did reason start with the alt texts on the pictures?

  6. People are worried that videos like that one will encourage other kids to imitate a candy-smoking jackass?

  7. I think you mean NO2, nitrous oxide. Sucking on a CO2 cartridge would just make you pass out.

  8. I watched that youtube clip in its entirety. It takes a while to get into it…but it really is brilliant. Totally worth your time. Can’t write shit like that.

  9. Crap. Not NO2, N2O

  10. I like candy.

  11. Say, i enjoyed candy as a kid, and i have been known to smoke the occasional cigarette now that i’m all growned up. Dammit, they’re right! Candy IS a gateway drug!

  12. Thanks IceTrey

  13. Salvia Divinorum has huge medicinal potential, that’s why the Feds left it legal. http://www.salviasociety.org has a ton of info on this plant, i highly recommend reading everything and watching the documentaries before making rush decisions (that’s for you politicians!)

  14. The “alarming trend” follows in the grand tradition of glue, CO2 cartridges,

    CO2 cartridges now emit a dangerous, toxic gas, to be regulated under the Clean Air Act.

    EPA finds greenhouse gases pose a danger to health

    The EPA on Friday declared that carbon dioxide and five other greenhouse gases sent off by cars and many industrial plants “endanger public health and welfare,” setting the stage for regulating them under federal clean air laws.
    “The (EPA) decision is a game changer. It now changes the playing field with respect to legislation,” said Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., whose Energy and Commerce subcommittee is crafting broad limits on greenhouse emissions. “It’s now no longer doing a bill or doing nothing. It is now a choice between regulation and legislation.”

    Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., chair of the Environment and Public Works Committee responsible for climate legislation, said EPA’s action is “a wake-up call for Congress” – deal with it directly through legislation or let the EPA regulate.

    Sorry for the threadjack, but we gotta get his out there early and often.

    Don’t you guys find it funny that the EPA can act as a threat to our elected officials? “If you don’t pass a law that’s unpopular, we’ll pass one”.

    Representative democracy my ass.

  15. Crap. Not NO2, N2O

    I thought it was 420.

  16. You know, I’m sitting here thinking about what a libertarian I am politically, and what a tyrant I am at home. I’d oppress my kids soundly if they did even the Smarties thing, let alone anything else. And I’m the good cop in the family. My wife might use extraordinary rendition and ship the offending child to a country that allows torture.

  17. Americans are a very stupid people.

  18. I see no mention of the drug this would actually be a gateway to … nicotine. Of course, one would need to acknowledge that nicotine is a drug.

    (Paul: The EPA finally published their Bush-quashed STATEMENT. It has no legislative effect.)

  19. That’s nothing. I used to drain the yellow liquid out of the center of Cadbury eggs and take it intravenously.

  20. According to George Takei, we are “made of stupid.”

  21. For a nickel I could buy a pack of candy cigarettes packaged to look like a pack of “Lucky Strikes”. I can just imagine the exploding heads if I were to pass those out at a playground today.

    Hmm, strange man passing out candy at playgrounds. Maybe I’d better come up with a better example.

    .. “naw” Hobbit

  22. I snorted liquor and smoked Bacos and potato flakes in college. Why doesn’t the WSJ care about me?

  23. You know how helium makes you sound like a munchkin? NO2 actually makes your voice much deeper, but no one wants to talk instead of holding your breath and getting the buzz.

  24. In college I met a guy who would put hits of mesc in his eye instead of eating them.

    Never understood that one.

  25. Whatever happened to binge drinking?

  26. That kid sleeps in a crib

  27. Besides me, who else likes Mystery Science Theater 3000? That show predicted this trend. In the 1979 movie Angels Revenge, a drug-addicted child knocks open a drug dealer’s handbag. Mike Nelson quips, “He’s a Smarties dealer!”

  28. economist,

    It’s alive and well. I assure you.

  29. Hi Brian, MST3K was simply the most brilliant TV show ever.

  30. If I had a child who smoked smarties, I would tell him to stop. However, I this falls in the same category as running with scissors or climbing on the roof. Let parent’s correct it, not police officers.

  31. I watched thevideo expecting that by the end I’d wanna smack that kid’s parents, but I have to say he really seems like a decently well-adjusted, articulate kid, and it’s an oddly compelling video.

    WTF’s with the crib, though, gangsta?

  32. If I had a child who “smoked” smarties, I would ridicule him mercilessly.

  33. I do believe that I and Mrs. Pro Libertate would get along famously.

  34. If I had a child like one of these, I would probably drown it and castrate myself to make sure nothing like that ever happened again.

  35. To paraphase Frank Zappa – if your parents ever find out how lame you really are, they’ll murder you in your sleep.

  36. CO2 cartridges now emit a dangerous, toxic gas, to be regulated under the Clean Air Act.

    Yeah, my favorite story in this vein is the health club owner who hooked up his treadmills and exercise bikes to generators, and promoted this invention as a way to slow global warming, because the exercisers were generating electric power, without burning fossil fuels.

    Of course, humans and all other animals, generate their muscle power by combining oxygen and sugar, exhaling water and…..CO2.

    You’re gonna be buying carbon offsets every time you go to the gym.

    Inhaling NO2? That would have an interesting effect. The NO2 would combine with the water in your lungs to make nitric acid. Ouch.

    If I had a child who “smoked” smarties, I would ridicule him mercilessly.

    I’d start doing it in front of him and his friends, exclaiming how cool it was. That would surely make them reject the whole thing as hopelessly uncool.

  37. Paul: The EPA finally published their Bush-quashed STATEMENT. It has no legislative effect.)

    James Butler:

    You forgot the operative word: Yet.


    If I had a child who “smoked” smarties, I would ridicule him mercilessly

    I’d tell him the effect is stronger if he were to place the Smarties powder on a mirror and snort it through a dollar bill.

    Then I’d tell him to show all his friends at school.

  38. I’ve never deliberately inhaled Smarties, but there have been a few times I coughed or sneezed while eating them, forcing some dust into my nose. It absolutely hurt like hell and made me want to claw my face open, so I can’t even begin to imagine doing it on purpose

  39. His parents must be so proud!

  40. Don’t be so hard on YouTubers. You’re not thinking the salvia divinorum thing through. We won’t see true freedom until EVERYTHING silly is made illegal. Then… Maybe… We will see a revolution.

  41. Gimme a break!

    We had chocolate and hard candy cigarettes. How did we ever make it to adult status without becoming fatally addicted to the real thing?

    Of course we also had really cool tommy guns that spit out plastic spent cartridges and Mattel’s Fanner 50s that projected plastic bullets about 4 ft along with some kind of robot that hurled ball bearings from a swinging arm…

  42. “One Alabama principal, however, has declared smoking Smarties a “Class II offence,” punishable by…detention.”

    Dude, that shit goes on your permanent record!

  43. that has to be the gayest fucking thing i have ever seen

  44. Christ, we were crushing Smarties with a straw and snorting them with a straw 25+ years ago. This shit is nothing new.

  45. That sentence above should read “…we were crushing Smarties in a bag and snorting them with a straw 25+ years ago.” Maybe that explains why I can’t type.

  46. If I had a child like one of these, I would probably drown it and castrate myself to make sure nothing like that ever happened again.

    Now, that’s a winner. 😀

    we were crushing Smarties in a bag and snorting them with a straw 25+ years ago

    It’s all fun and games until someone gets a deviated septum. 😉

  47. Gad, that kid is a tool.

  48. last week, i snorted my first smarty. when it drops in your throat, its awesome

  49. hi,
    everybody, take your time and a little bit.adfasefwqe

  50. Isaac was the same way with halloween candy. Thankfully its gone now (mommy and daddy raided it a lot) but when we were tricker treating he would bite through wrappers and go nuts. We arent super strict on candy. He doesnt get it on a regular basis but it was halloween and so we let him go at it. My mom is a nutritionist and said one of her regrets was being to strick with us on holidays instead of letting us be kids and go for it.

  51. They may start out with a little card-table and selling a couple of things, but then who is to say what else they have. Is all the produce made there, do they grow it themselves
    Abilene Roofing Company

  52. I agree with you, your saying is so good and usful for me.Thanks.
    Abilene Roofing Companies

  53. smoking smarties, and just when I thought maybe they snorted them…….. wow! kids these days ,)

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