11-Year-Old Boy Dies After TikTok Challenge Attempt

A young boy in the United Kingdom recently died after trying to complete a challenge posed via TikTok, according to the boy’s family.

Tommie-Lee Gracie Billington, an 11-year-old boy, was having a sleepover at a friend’s house in Lancaster, England, when he tried to accomplish a TikTok trend. He was reportedly discovered unresponsive on March 2. He went into cardiac arrest after attempting the so-called “chroming” challenge on TikTok and was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital shortly after.

According to Tina Burns, Billington’s grandmother, the boy “died instantly” following the sleepover, which included Billington and his friends trying the latest TikTok trend, “chroming.” His grandmother said the boy died before going to the hospital, where he was unable to be revived.

The challenge—known as “huffing” in the United States—involves inhaling toxic chemicals found in everyday products such as glue, motor fuel and aerosol paint. While inhaling the hydrocarbons in these sources can produce a temporary high—motivating young people to engage in the trend—but can also lead to serious injury and even immediate death.

The term “chroming” became popular last year, after a girl in Australia died from inhaling toxic chemicals in a similar tragedy to Billington’s death.

The girl, 13-year-old Esra Haynes, was also at a sleepover at the time of the incident that cost her life. Her mother explained at the time that Haynes was having a sleepover with her teammates on March 31, 2023, when she inhaled the toxic chemicals in an aerosol can of deodorant.

Like Billington, the previously healthy 8th grader suffered cardiac arrest while at her friend’s house. Her parents later revealed that their daughter’s heart failure and irreparable brain damage was the result of the “chroming” attempt. She was on life support for eight days before passing away.

According to the United States National Institutes of Health, toxic chemicals inhaled during “chroming” get quickly absorbed into one’s bloodstream as well as to the lungs and brain. The impact is immediate, resulting in a high similar to the influence of alcohol. Hallucinations, seizures, brain malfunction, heart palpitations and death are among the risks of “chroming.”

Haynes’ death last year came after a 16-year-old girl from Wales was found dead alongside a can of deodorant in 2022, all tragedies which have given rise to the concern of the trend being promoted on TikTok.

Billington’s recent death has sparked warnings to be issued by media outlets and health officials alike, encouraging parents to be aware of dangerous TikTok challenges and taking precautions in the form of discussing the risks of the trends with their children.