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Experts see disturbing trends among county youth

Children 'smoking' Smarties, taking on 'Cinnamon Challenge'

Posted: May 22, 2012 2:46 p.m.
Updated: May 23, 2012 5:00 a.m.

The ALPHA Center in Camden is sending out a warning to parents about two new trends it is seeing among county youth: smoking Smarties and something called the “Cinnamon Challenge.”

According to Tina Griggs, the ALPHA Center’s prevention director, smoking Smarties may sound silly but produces really harmful effects.

“It’s a fad that can lead to infections, chronic coughing, choking and even maggots feeding off sugary dust in your nose,” Griggs said. “The Smarties are crushed into a fine powder in its wrapper, drawn into their mouths and then blown out in a cloud of dust.”

Griggs said county children are seeing this behavior on You Tube and think it’s cool. But, she added, health experts fear the behavior will result in children contracting the harmful conditions.

The same goes for the “Cinnamon Challenge.”

“They take 1 teaspoon of cinnamon and try to swallow it in 60 seconds without any water. Cinnamon can’t be digested without water, and by inhaling the cinnamon dust, they’re running the risk of inflaming or scarring their lungs. Their lungs may even collapse,” she said.

Griggs said the center began hearing about these two problems from one of the county’s middle schools. She said she and Executive Director Paul Napper wanted to make people aware and spoke with Kershaw County School District Superintendent Dr. Frank Morgan.

“We just don’t think that parents, grandparents and even all teachers are aware of this,” Griggs said. “It’s just running rampant.”

Morgan said he appreciates the ALPHA Center’s keeping the school district posted about trends it sees and hears about.

“When Tina Griggs made me aware of all of this, I passed the information on to our principals,” Morgan said. “This is standard operating procedure for us. It’s a tremendous asset for the district to have the ALPHA Center as a resource.”

For more information on these two problems, and how to talk to your children about them, call the ALPHA Center at 432-6902.

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