Kids and candy

A closer look at Smarties snorting trend


Illustration by Svannah Nguyen

Mayo Clinic nose specialist Oren Fried reported that smoking smarties can lead to several health effects.

What is pastel-colored and made of dextrose, citric acid, calcium stearate, colors red 40 lake, yellow 5 lake, blue 2 lake and “natural and artificial flavors?” Smarties. Although they are intended for consumption, a recent flare-up in the trend of snorting them has parents and doctors across the country concerned.

Many school districts have issued warnings about the dangers this practice poses, some of which include nasal scarring, allergic reactions, lung irritation and infection, internal bleeding and respiratory arrest. Another possible side effect is the potential of nasal maggots forming in the nasal cavity “feeding on the sugary dust wedged inside the nose,” according to Dr. Oren Friedman of the Mayo Clinic.

Students also use Pixie Stix in the same manner. The candies are non-addictive and provide no high but doctors fear that they may serve as a gateway activity leading to the use of illegal substances.

Symptoms of nose maggots are sneezing and a gooey discharge that can lead to mucus in the eyelids. Other things to look out for are a foul odor from the nose, sneezing and wheezing. If you suspect someone of abusing candy, alert a trusted adult.