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Trading a Cocaine Habit for…Chocolate?

Could chocolate soon become the next drug of choice – one that people use when they’re looking for a fix? Well, one chocolatier out of Belgium has created a line of “high-end cocoa powders” meant to do just that. And these chocolaty confections aren’t eaten by mouth; they’re consumed with a sniffing device…just like cocaine. Sound odd? It should.

Chocolate up Your Nose?

Chocolate maker Dominique Persoone invented the sniffing contraption in 2007, allowing users to inhale cocoa powder.

This strange device was originally created as a gag gift for Rolling Stone members Ronnie Wood and Charlie Watts, but it’s since been turned into a legitimate franchise. As a matter of fact, Persoone has moved over 25,000 units of this strange device. They cost about $50 each and are shipped to several countries worldwide, including the U.S.

Persoone mixes a “hit” of cocoa powder from either Peru or the Dominican Republic with flavors including mint, ginger or raspberry. He’s also working on creating more savory flavors such as bacon and even oyster.

Although the packaging warns against “excessive sniffing” of the product, Persoone insists that it’s completely safe to use. “The mentality when you think about sniffing is: ‘Oh it’s kinky, guys who do that stuff…,” he explained to Reuters. “I’m not the bad boy promoting drugs; not at all. Life is boring. Let’s have fun.”

A few other culinary experts have endorsed the product, including Michelen-starred chef Heston Blumenthal. Most, however, have dismissed this as a bad marketing scheme targeted at teenagers and potential danger.

A Look at the Medical Dangers

There are plenty of medical professionals who aren’t convinced that it’s “safe” to snort cocoa powder.

Dr. Robert Glatter, emergency physician at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, said that inhaling a food product could lead to a bacterial infection, lead to a risk of pneumonia and even damage nasal passages if done over a lengthy period of time.

“Inhalation of cocoa or herbal components such as mint or ginger could lead to increase mucous production, nasal congestion, as well as coughing and wheezing, especially in those persons with a history of asthma or pre-existing lung disease,” said Glatter to He advised potential buyers to consume cocoa powder “the normal way – commonly known as eating!”

A recent study also found that another common vice could actually reduce the symptoms of cocaine addiction. The findings published in the latest issue of the Journal of Caffeine Research found the caffeine in coffee serves as a neuroprotective block against some of the brain changes associated with drug use.

Additional Reading: Proactive Parenting: Keeping Kids Safe from Addiction

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