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A new thrill-seeking activity popular among teenagers called the “cinnamon challenge” can be risky, warns the American Association of Poison Control Centers. In the cinnamon challenge, teens are dared to swallow a spoonful of ground or powdered cinnamon, without drinking any water.

The cinnamon coats and dries the mouth and throat. This can cause gagging, coughing, vomiting and inhaling cinnamon. This can be particularly dangerous for teens with asthma, who can develop shortness of breath.

In the first three months of this year, poison control centers have received 139 calls about cinnamon, the Los Angeles Times reports. Of those cases, 122 were classified as intentional misuse or abuse, and 30 required medical evaluation.

Teens who unintentionally breathe cinnamon into their lungs also risk developing pneumonia, Alvin C. Bronstein, MD, FACEP, Managing and Medical Director for the Rocky Mountain Poison and Drug Center, said in a news release. “We urge parents and caregivers to talk to their teens about the cinnamon challenge, explaining that what may seem like a silly game can have serious health consequences.”


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