Condom snorting - a trending bad idea!

What is condom snorting? A bad idea to say the least! Youngsters these days are uncoiling a condom and snorting it up one nostril and inhaling right into their throats from where they are hawking it out of their mouths. This apparently is a dare that young people are falling for!

It’s a game called the “condom-snorting challenge” that has been sweeping across social media and teenagers and youngsters apparently have been doing this for some years now. The challenge came up first in 2007 and became a rage in 2013 when a young woman did it in a YouTube video. The video since then has been removed but the challenge remained on the media circulating among young people.

Stephen Enriquez, a state education specialist in San Antonio says that there are drugs, alcohol and other addictions parents are warned about. Now he is visiting schools to warn parents and teachers about social media challenges as well that could lead to serious accidents. He explained that teenagers are taking up these challenges for “likes, views and subscribers” on social media. There are thousands of youngsters, he added, that go looking for these challenges online in order to recreate them.

According to associate professor Bruce Lee from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, snorting a condom could be very dangerous. It could get stuck in the air passage and cause the person to choke and even die. He spoke about two previously reported cases where there was “accidental condom inhalation” in a 27 year old woman who had inhaled the condom right into her lungs during oral sex. This caused pneumonia and part of her lung collapsed thereafter.

The case report was published in 2004 in the Indian Journal of Chest Diseases and Allied Sciences. The second case report appeared in 2016 in the Journal of Medical Case Reports where again a 26 year old woman had swallowed a condom and part of it had stuck in her appendix and led to a serious inflammation and appendicitis. Both of these cases were accidents, unlike what these teenagers were doing for a dare said Lee. He says that the whole process of snorting up the condom and taking is via the mouth would be painful to say the least. He wonders why people would do something so uncomfortable for a few “likes or views”.

Condom fragment retrieved from appendiceal lumen © Sama et al. 2016 via BMC Journal of Medical Case Reports
Condom fragment retrieved from appendiceal lumen © Sama et al. 2016 via BMC Journal of Medical Case Reports

According to expert psychologists, these challenges and dares are taken up to get social media attention. There has been another dare doing the rounds – chewing up detergent pods called the “Tide pod challenge”.

Over the last 5 years the U.S. poison control centers have received a single report of a condom inhalation. According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers only one case was on inhalation of a condom. There were 107 incidents of condom ingestion however. The centres have released national hotline at 1-800-222-1222 for reporting incidents. Incidents can also be reported by texting POISON to 797979.


Dr. Ananya Mandal

Written by

Dr. Ananya Mandal

Dr. Ananya Mandal is a doctor by profession, lecturer by vocation and a medical writer by passion. She specialized in Clinical Pharmacology after her bachelor's (MBBS). For her, health communication is not just writing complicated reviews for professionals but making medical knowledge understandable and available to the general public as well.


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