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Everything you need to know about 'chroming challenge' after 11-year-old boy dies of cardiac arrest

Everything you need to know about 'chroming challenge' after 11-year-old boy dies of cardiac arrest

The social media trend involves a person inhaling toxic chemicals with potentially deadly results

'Chroming' has fast become one of the most dangerous crazes of age, with several children having died after taking part in the last 12 months.

Although the practice isn’t new, it’s in the headlines currently after an 11-year-old boy from the UK tragically died at the weekend after attempting the trend with friends.

Tommie-Lee Gracie Billington's family broke the news on Saturday that the youngster had suffered a suspected cardiac arrest after taking part in the dangerous 'social media' challenge known as 'chroming'.

He was later found unresponsive by paramedics at a friend's house around 12.00pm on Saturday night, with the boy quickly being rushed to hospital before being pronounced dead.

The Lancaster pre-teen's devastated grandmother Tina Burns has since spoken out on her loss: "The boys had tried the TikTok craze 'chroming'. Tommie-Lee went into cardiac arrest immediately and died right there and then.

"The hospital did everything to try and bring him back but nothing worked. He was gone."

Tommie-Lee died after suffering a cardiac arrest.
Facebook/Graham Billington/Tina Burns

Tina is now urging social media bosses to 'do more' in order to protect young users from life-threatening trends, and wants children under the age of 16 to be banned from using it altogether.

"Both our families are utterly devastated but we all want the same thing. We don't want any other children to follow TikTok or be on social media."

TikTok has denied any affiliation with the social media trend.

She went on: "This is breaking us all but we want to help save other children's lives and give families awareness to keep their children safe. I have had so many messages from parents thanking me for making them aware."

What is chroming?

According to the National Retail Association, ‘chroming’ gets its name from the act of sniffing chrome-based paint - although it's now a broader term used to describe the deliberate inhalation of toxic chemicals such as solvents, aerosol cans, paint and glue and is also known as ‘huffing’ or ‘sniffing’.

Tommie-Lee's parents announced his death.
Facebook/Graham Billington/Tina Burns

Breathing in the chemicals affects the central nervous system, resulting in a short-term ‘high’ as the brain slows down.

What are the side affects?

Side effects can include slurred speech, dizziness, hallucinations, nausea, vomiting and disorientation.

And while these are often quite short-lived, chroming can also have much more serious and scary effects such as causing heart attack, seizures, suffocation or landing someone in a coma.

Abusing substances in this way can cause ‘Sudden sniffing death syndrome’ after just one use, according to the National Institute of Health.

Chroming can also cause permanent damage to the brain, heart, lungs, liver and kidneys.

A report from the Journal of Drug and Alcohol Research found that long-term inhalation of such chemicals can lead to cognitive impairment, causing issues such as memory loss, lower IQ, lack of concentration and impaired judgement.

The 'social media trend' has proven fatal.
Facebook/Graham Billington/Tina Burns

Chroming is more prevalent with younger people, the American Addiction Centre says, because they often do not have access to other drugs or the means to buy them.

Who is chroming?

A report from Drug Free World analysed data from 2002 to 2006 and found that an average of 593,000 teens aged 12 to 17 engaged in chroming for the first time in the year prior to participating in the survey.

And of those who died from ‘sudden sniffing death syndrome’, 22 percent were reported to be first-time users.

Featured Image Credit: Facebook/Graham Billington/Tina Burns

Topics: Crime, Health, News, Parenting, TikTok, US News, World News, Social media