What is Chroming, the TikTok trend that killed an 11-year-old boy

Social media platforms such as TikTok and Instagram have become home to a number of online trends. While there have been challenges like the “Ice Bucket Challenge” that promote awareness about amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a nervous system disease; some others like “blackout challenge”, which involves holding breath until unconscious, has killed several young people. One such trend gaining popularity is “Chroming” that recently claimed the life of an 11-year-old boy.

What is Chroming

Chroming has been used as a slang term to describe the trend on TikTok. This involves inhaling toxic fumes to get high from substances including paint thinners, aerosol cans, glue and detergent. According to a report, the trend has been in existence since before TikTok’s launch in the UK in 2018 but it is gaining popularity.
Recently, an 11-year-old boy was found unresponsive by paramedics at his friend’s house. He was admitted to the hospital but was pronounced dead. The kid’s grandmother claimed that he ‘died instantly’ at a sleepover where he and his friend had ‘tried the TikTok craze chrome’.
Last year, a 13-year-old girl in Australia was reported to have died from cardiac arrest after she inhaled spray deodorant while taking part in a “chroming challenge” during a sleepover with friends.
Here are some common methods used:
Sniffing: This involves directly inhaling fumes from containers like nail polish remover. These fumes contain harmful chemicals that can damage the lungs and other organs.
Bagging: Inhaling concentrated vapors from products like spray deodorant trapped in a plastic or paper bag is dangerous. The confined space increases the amount of chemicals inhaled, raising the risk of poisoning.
Huffing: Soaking a cloth in toxic liquids like lighter fluid and inhaling the fumes is extremely dangerous. These chemicals can be rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream, leading to organ damage and even death.
Chroming, regardless of the method, is dangerous and can have life-threatening consequences. According to a 2017 report titled ‘Understanding Adolescent Inhalant Use’, about 684,000 adolescents followed the toxic practice of huffing or sniffing chemicals.
According to toxicology specialist Anthony Pizon MD, chrome “is a variation of an old theme of huffing all kinds of hydrocarbons.”
In 2023, Pizon said in 2023 that people have been “huffing metallic paints for a long, long time” and Chroming apparently borrows its name from the “chrome-like shiny appearance” of metallic paints containing these hydrocarbons.

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