Videos of the drinking game, known as “birra alla goccia” in Italy, literally, “beer in one gulp”, have appeared on social networking sites in the last few days, Il Messaggero reported on Tuesday.
Just last week, a 16-year-old boy in Agrigento, in the southern Italian region of Sicily, ended up in an alcohol-induced coma after taking part in the game.
In the Italian version of the game, participants are typically asked to down a pint of beer in one go after being challenged by their Facebook friends. They then “nominate” another friend to do the same in a video who is “forced” to take up the challenge.
If they fail to take up the challenge they are then forced to pay for the most “impressive” winner’s drinks for an entire evening.
For the moment, Il Messaggero reports, the Italian version of the game appears to be more moderate than in other countries, but there are fears that it could become more popular.
Thought to have originated in Australia like the “planking” craze before it, the craze has spread as far afield as England, Ireland, France and the USA.
On February 16th, the game claimed its fifth victim. Bradley Eames, 20, from Nottingham in the UK, died four days after he filmed himself drinking two pints of gin with teabags.
Meanwhile, in France, a much healthier version of the game has appeared on social networks.
Recently in France, 23-year-old Julien Voinson from Bordeaux, south-western France, was given 24 hours to film himself drowning an alcoholic beverage as part of the deadly drinking craze.
But the young Frenchman decided against following the trend.
Instead, Voinson came up with a much healthier and certainly more responsible challenge: handing out food and drink to the homeless people in his city.
Then, as with the rules of Neknominate, he challenged three of his friends to film themselves doing something “intelligent and useful” and in doing so created "Smart-nomination".