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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A common spice is creating an uncommon problem among teens. It’s called the “cinnamon challenge” and doctors are warning it could be dangerous.
The cinnamon challenge is an old stunt that is making the rounds with a new generation of teens and is popping up all over YouTube and Facebook.
The challenge works like this: A person swallows an entire tablespoon of ground cinnamon without water, but the results usually end in coughing, choking, gagging, sometimes vomiting and always burning pain.
“It’s dangerous and I never want to have that feeling again,” said one 9th grader, who didn’t want to be identified. She said she was dared to do the challenge last month.
And it’s not just teens who are getting into trouble. New Haven’s Clinton Avenue School principal is on leave, accused of letting kids in the lunchroom down doses of the spice.
There are no accounts of death by cinnamon, but doctors at Winthrop University Hospital say it’s a dangerous dare. It can raise blood sugar levels, burn the throat and get into the lungs.
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“If it gets into your lungs, it can cause asthma or pneumonia,” explained Dr. Joseph Greensher.
Several schools nationwide have formally warned their students about the cinnamon challenge. Doctors say parents should also tell their kids it’s really no joke.
A school in Pennsylvania has actually banned some boots because students were smuggling cinnamon into schools that way.
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