Cardiac Arrest Claims Boy’s Life After Attempting “Chroming” Social Media Challenge

( — A growing TikTok trend known as “chroming” caused an 11-year-old boy to die after he suffered a cardiac arrest during his attempt to perform the challenge. The boy, Tommie-Lee Gracie Billington, reportedly attempted the chroming challenge at his friend’s house, where authorities found him unresponsive. After transporting Billington to a nearby medical facility, medical staff pronounced the 11-year-old dead.

According to Tina Burns, Billington’s grandmother, Billington and his friend attempted the chroming challenge after they saw videos of it on TikTok. Burns said her grandson died immediately after trying the dangerous social media trend, a claim supported by the medical personnel who attempted to revive Billington. Burns also shared details about how Billington’s family responded to the trend, claiming Billington’s death “devastated” them.

While “chroming” is a relatively new trend, it has its roots in a dangerous form of drug use known in the United States as “huffing.” Chroming differs from traditional huffing, as the trend is popular on TikTok, particularly on channels catering to children around Billington’s age. The trend encourages young viewers to find various household cleaners or substances, such as glue or paint from spray paint cans, and to inhale the chemicals to produce a “high” comparable to other illegal substances. Chroming marks a disturbing increase in incidents involving children ingesting dangerous chemicals, which could result in a variety of harmful effects.

A hospital in Australia released a statement about chroming, sharing information about the potentially lethal effects of inhaling chemicals found in cleaners. Among the symptoms listed by Melbourne’s Royal Children’s Hospital are pain, seizures, brain damage, and, in some cases, death. Other sources indicate that more than half a million children participate in chroming each year, with more than 1.5 million people participating in the dangerous activity annually.

Billington’s death prompted heavy criticism against TikTok by online commenters, who feel the social media platform’s lackluster attempts to regulate trends targeting children are harming children. Burns is among those calling for more intervention and regulation by TikTok, citing Billington’s death as a preventable tragedy that will occur again without intervention by social media platforms. TikTok hasn’t released a statement regarding chroming or Billington’s death, and any attempt to prevent chroming from appearing on the platform hasn’t been shared with the general public.

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