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So-called 'trend' of kids snorting crushed Smarties overblown by media

Few kids actually seem to be snorting Smarties.
Few kids actually seem to be snorting Smarties.
Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Online urban legend debunker Snopes.com updated its Smarties snorting page yesterday, as the supposed "trend" of kids crushing and snorting the pill-shaped candies started appearing in the mainstream media again.

This time, reporters added a new, terrifying twist - the possibility of nasal maggots taking up residence in the nose of someone who has snorted crushed Smarties.

The Web site Harddeadlines.com reached out to the doctor who originated those scary maggot warnings, Dr. Oren Friedman, Associate Professor, Otorhinolaryngology at the University of Pennsylvania. When pressed about whether he'd actually ever seen maggots in the nose caused by Smarties snorting, he responded that it's "just a possibility. I have seen maggots in the nose from other food products in general."

The doctor also has never studied Smarties inhalation, according to the Harddeadlines.com interview. "We did not do a study on this in particular," he acknowledges. However, he goes on to say, "We often see patients with foreign materials in their noses which can cause a variety of problems — even years after the insult occurs."

The Smarties story spread to news broadcasts and newspapers all over the country, from the LA Times to the NY Daily News. News articles claim that students are trying Smarties snorting in "droves."

However, the actual practice of snorting crushed Smarties, according to Snopes.com's investigation, appears to be mostly rumor and gossip, with only a handful of kids actually trying it.

The candies, which consist mostly of sweetener (dextrose) and food coloring, would likely cause burning and irritation and may, in rare cases, result in an infection. Snorting them is certainly a bad idea. Infestation with maggots, though, is a remote, theoretical possibility.