A school has issued a warning to its students they could soon have maggot infestations in their nostrils if they continue to indulge in the latest "craze" of snorting smarties.
Portsmouth Middle School in Rhode Island, US, voiced its concerns about the "widespread phenomenon" which has been inspired by videos posted on YouTube.
Maggots are attracted to the remnants of the rotting sugar dust in the nasal passage, and lay larvae eggs inside the nose.
The school's email was first published by parent and blogger John McDaid, and read: "We have recently become aware of an unsafe, new trend among some of our middle school students - smoking or snorting the candy, Smarties.
"Our research has taught us this is a widespread phenomenon and is the subject of many You-Tube videos.
"To smoke Smarties, students crush the candies into a fine powder while it is still in its wrapper, tear off an end, pour the powder into their mouths and blow out the smoke. Some are able to put the powder into their mouths and blow it out their noses. Thus, they imitate a smoker’s exhale. To snort Smarties, students use a straw or a rolled up piece of paper to snort the fine, crushed candy powder up into their nasal cavities."
The school listed side-effects including "possible maggots".
"Dr. Oren Friedman, a Mayo Clinic nose specialist, has cautioned that frequent snorting could even rarely lead to maggots feeding on the sugary dust wedged inside the nose," the email continued.
Other effects include nasal scarring, lung irritation and infection. In a previous case of Smartie snorting, again in the US, one county health commissioner said: “If the Smarties do end up getting into the lung, then that can also cause infection.
“It is an irritant; it can cause wheezing and maybe chronic cough and asthma and sinus complications. And, ultimately, if someone is allergic to sugar or the contents of Smarties, then they could end up having an anaphylactic reaction and dying.”
McDaid chastised the school for "sloppy, loopy, cut-and-paste content" of the email, while popular blog Gawker described the trend as "probably fake".A search for "snorting smarties" on YouTube produces more than 1,300 results, including one instance where the crushed candy is snorted using a tampon.