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'Cinnamon Challenge' Sending Teens to Hospitals

Updated: Monday, April 22 2013, 07:41 PM EDT
COLUMBUS -- Central Ohio doctors are warning parents about a viral stunt involving cinnamon that is landing teens in emergency rooms across the country.

The so-called 'Cinnamon Challenge' encourages participants to attempt to swallow a tablespoon of ground cinnamon within a minute without taking a drink.

Those who attempt the stunt -- recordings of which are often posted to YouTube -- typically chokes and gags as he or she attempts to complete the stunt within the allotted time, which is nearly impossible to accomplish.

Most 'Cinnamon Challenge' attempts result in a bad cough and/or burning in the throat, mouth, and nose. For some, however -- especially those with asthma -- doctors warn the stunt's consequences can be much more serious.

“Cinnamon is a cellulose material, once it gets into the body in a place like the lungs, your body can’t get rid of it," said Dr. Jason Russell of Ohio Poison Control.

Despite the negative consequences associated with the stunt, its popularity among teens does not appear to be diminishing. Poison control centers across the nation received more than 200 calls related to misuse of cinnamon in 2012.

Dr. Russell believes parents are ultimately responsible for making sure the stunt doesn't land their kids in the emergency room in 2013.

"You really need to inform your child that this is not benign. It’s not a safe thing for them to be doing.”

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Reporter: Maria Durant
Web Producer: Ken Hines'Cinnamon Challenge' Sending Teens to Hospitals


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