Child Dies From Another Dangerous ‘TikTok Challenge’

An 11-year-old boy has died after attempting the latest dangerous TikTok challenge — “chroming,” which refers to the inhalation of dangerous chemicals to get high.

According to the child’s family, Tommie-Lee Gracie Billington went into cardiac arrest at a friend’s home in Lancaster, United Kingdom, and was found unresponsive at around 12 p.m. local time on March 2, the Times of London reported.

Billington was later pronounced dead at a local hospital, and his family is now speaking out.

The child’s grandmother, Tina Burns, explained: “He died instantly after a sleepover at a friend’s house. 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.”

“He had a heart of gold just like his dad. Our family is utterly devastated,” she added.

Chroming, also sometimes known as “huffing,” is defined by the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center as: “The inhalation of aerosol paint and other chemical products in an attempt to get high.”

“Hydrocarbons are present in many different household products, including aerosol paint, paint thinner, motor fuel, and glue,” the hospital warns. “Inhaling them can create a high, which causes many people to use them as a drug of abuse. People may inhale the chemicals in different ways — breathing in the fumes directly or using something like a bag or rag.”

The Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne, Australia, explains that side effects of chroming include hallucinations, impulsive behavior, depression, slurred speech, lack of coordination, headaches, dizziness, brain dysfunction, seizures, palpitations, shortness of breath and even sudden death.

Forbes reports that a staggering 684,000 “adolescents between the ages of 12 and 17 huffed or inhaled toxic chemicals in 2015, according to a 2017 report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. A total of 1.8 million people 12 years and older performed the practice that same year, though inhalant use typically decreases with age.”

Billington’s grieving grandmother has called on social media companies to “do more,” adding: “We don’t want any other children to follow TikTok or be on social media.”

This is far from the first time that a child died from a TikTok challenge. The Chinese-owned social media app has a history of promoting dangerous challenges that have caused deaths of several children — including the “blackout challenge,” where kids were encouraged to asphyxiate themselves to the point of passing out, which led to the death of a 12-year-old boy.

American lawmakers have increased their demands to ban TikTok entirely in recent months, citing security concerns about China being able to access American data and the effects that the app has on American youth. A bill recently passed through committee unanimously that would ban TikTok in the U.S. unless the app is sold to an American company. The House Committee on Energy and Commerce unanimously approved the measure by a vote of 50–0 on March 7, and President Joe Biden has indicated that he would sign it.