A new report published in the journal Pediatrics warns parents of a bizarre -- albeit, immensely popular -- fad among young people, which resulted in more than 200 calls to poison control centers last year.
The so-called Cinnamon Challenge involves young people gulping down spoonfuls of grounded cinnamon, usually while being recorded by friends. A YouTube query nets more than half a million videos of teens and adolescents attempting to down the caustic spice -- typically, struggling to ingest a teaspoon in under a minute and without drinking water.
The authors of the report state that the “Cinnamon Challenge” poses multiple health risks, including choking, severe throat irritation and even the threat of collapsed lungs. Last year, the study found that at least 30 individuals had to seek medical treatment after attempting the stunt, with some challenge-takers even being hospitalized and placed on ventilator support.
Additionally, researchers say inhaling cinnamon may cause pulmonary inflammation, which can result in both aspiration pneumonia and scarring of epithelial tissue.
“The Cinnamon Challenge is a behavioral phenomenon, a popular dare fueled by peer pressure that, along with competition, often instigates risk-taking behaviors among adolescents,” the authors of the report state. “Given the allure of social media, peer pressure, and a trendy new fad, pediatricians and parents have a ‘challenge’ of their own in counseling tweens and teens regarding the sensibilities of the choices they make and the potential health risks of this dare.”
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