The Italian Almanac
Police in Piedmont began confiscating packs of `scratch and sniff` cards after 16 children and their teacher were hospitalised by the foul-smelling novelty product. The elementary kids had been playing with the collector`s cards featuring blubbery pink monsters called Skifidol Puzz (`disgusting smellies`) during morning breaktime when they began complaining of burning eyes and throats.
Sold in packs of four for a euro, when scratched the cards release nauseating smells such as vomit, rotten eggs and dirty nappies. Among the characters to collect are Antonietta Toiletta, Sandrone Vomitone, Paolino Pannolino (Nappy) and Yuri Tantisiluri (Multi-fart).
The children and their teacher were all released from hospital after being checked by doctors, but health authorities are now investigating whether the cards caused the physical symptoms. Another theory is that the episode was the result of `auto-suggestion` after one child felt ill because of a strong smell.
Newsagents across the country have been advised to stop selling the cards until results of tests are known. Producer Gedis Edicola has recently released 150 new Skifidols, promising that they are ``even more fetid and powerful``. ``With Skifo-Cards you can now really go crazy and challenge your friends with the most disgusting smells,`` the Skifidol slogan runs.
``There are lots of characters to collect. They are rather rude but they`ll make you split your sides laughing``. A Turin newsagent said the cards have been flying off the shelves. ``As soon as we get a new order in they`ve already sold out``.
Gedis Edicola mark clearly on the packs of cards that they are for children over the age of 12.