Smoking coffee is the latest in teenage stupidity

Apr 1, 2014 at 7:30 p.m. ET

Reports that "bean heads" are smoking coffee are highly exaggerated, but it's not uncommon for teenagers to smoke stupid things in search of the elusive legal high. We asked moms to tell what they tried smoking. Hint: It's more than just oregano.

Ground coffee and beans |
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It's not rocket science that smoking random substances is a one-way ticket to gross and potentially dangerous side effects. Even the most daring teenagers generally avoid shortness of breath, headaches and vomiting. It seems like a no brainer to avoid rolling kitchen herbs — or worse — into a joint, yet teenagers continue to uphold the long tradition of trying to get a buzz by smoking stupid things.

Pass the oregano

"When I was about 16, I wanted to try smoking," says Lee Ann Glowenski, a stay-at-home mom who is currently putting her Ph.D. to use homeschooling her 4-year-old son. "There was no way for me to get cigarettes, though, because none of my friends smoked and I wasn't about to try to buy them illegally. So I figured the next best thing would be... oregano." Glowenski made a cigarette with oregano from her parents' spice rack, using a paper towel as rolling paper. "I can't remember what happened after that, but I still feel silly when I think about it — and impressed by whatever my parents managed to do to make me afraid enough of illicit substances that I'd try smoking Italian seasonings instead," she says.

They call it mellow yellow

Kate Welsh, mom to a young son, tried smoking dried banana peels as a teen. "We were idiots," she says. "Someone's older brother told us it was awesome. We thought we did it wrong, because nothing happened. Of course." Welsh wasn't alone in trying to smoke banana peels. Mom of two Linda Sharps tried smoking dried banana peels as well as toothpaste. "Neither had any effect whatsoever except triggering a lot of coughing," she says. Despite originating as a hoax recipe in the late 1960s, dried banana peels are still touted as a potentially psychoactive drug.

Is smoking coffee the next big thing?

Reports out of Las Vegas may lead parents to think that smoking coffee is the latest horrific trend in drug use. Is this supposedly viral trend likely to hit your teen? Probably not. The truth is, today's teens can easily access cigarettes, marijuana and dangerous synthetic drugs. A study in 2012 showed that over 10 percent of high school seniors had tried smoking synthetic marijuana. Oregano and even coffee are probably least of your concerns. "I only smoked two things as a teen, and I don't think either one was all that out-of-the-ordinary," says mom Kalisa Hyman. Knowing that teens are basically hardwired to push boundaries and try stupid things, it's probably time to have that substance abuse talk again. And again.

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Can teenage drinking lead to alcoholism?
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