A bizarre viral trend involves teenagers snorting unwrapped condoms in what is being touted as the “Condom Snorting Challenge” — and it can have some pretty terrifying results.
Just a few months after teens across the world were intentionally ingesting colorful and seriously toxic laundry pods as part of the “Tide Pod Challenge,” an even more disturbing trend is sweeping the internet. Teenagers are actually snorting unwrapped condoms up their nostrils — spermicide and all — and inhaling them until they come out of their mouths. And, nope, this isn’t part of an April Fools’ Day joke.
While this wacky practice may seem so 2018, it isn’t even a new thing. It was first documented back in June 2007, but recently started becoming popular due to — duh — social media. So why would a teenager possibly want to do such an asinine thing as inhale a foreign object up their nasal passage? Simply put, because it’s the cool thing to do.
“These days our teens are doing everything for likes, views and subscribers,” educator Stephen Enriquez, who promotes drugs and alcohol prevention in places like San Antonio, told NBC News 4. “As graphic as it is, we have to show parents because teens are going online looking for challenges and re-creating them.”
Just how dangerous is snorting latex rubber slathered with lubricant and spermicide? Bruce Y. Lee, associate professor of International Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, detailed everything that can go wrong in a blog for Forbes — and what he had to say was pretty scary.
In addition to potentially damaging the sensitive inner lining of your nose, causing an allergic reaction or infection, the condom could also get stuck in your nose or throat, ultimately blocking your breathing or causing you to choke.
Lee also mentioned two worst-case-scenario examples of women who accidentally swallowed condoms while performing oral sex. “The condom went down her trachea and into her lungs, blocked one of her airways and resulted in pneumonia and a collapse of the right upper lobe of her lung,” he explained. The other accidental swallower ended up developing appendicitis after a piece of the condom became lodged inside her appendix. While both of these documented incidents didn’t occur as the result of snorting condoms, both are totally plausible outcomes of it.
Before you start furiously typing the words “condom snorting challenge” into your YouTube search bar, be forewarned that you will probably have a hard time finding anything. YouTube recently announced they have started cracking down on challenge videos. “YouTube’s Community Guidelines prohibit content that’s intended to encourage dangerous activities that have an inherent risk of physical harm,” it says in a statement to Fast Company. “We work quickly to remove flagged videos that violate our policies.”
Lessons of the day? It’s probably a good idea to refrain from snorting anything up your nose other than air, use condoms only for sexual activity and avoid any internet challenges that could land you in the hospital.