Parents, caregivers and educators in Los Angeles and around the country are being urged by the experts at the American Association of Poison Control Centers to talk to teens about the “cinnamon challenge.” The “cinnamon challenge” is when a person attempts to swallow a spoonful of ground cinnamon without drinking water.
While it may seem like a silly game to some, attempting to swallow cinnamon can have serious health consequences. Cinnamon can cause coughing, choking, gagging and vomiting. Cinnamon dries the throat and can lead to breathing difficulties and raises the risk of pneumonia, especially for kids and teens with asthma.
In 2011, poison centers received 51 calls about teen exposure to cinnamon but in the first three months of 2012, poison centers received 139 calls, 122 of which were classified as intentional misuse or abuse. Videos on the Internet are helping to spread this risky activity among teens. It is important that teens be made aware of the risks of swallowing this common household spice.
The Poison Help hotline at 1-800- 222-1222 provides free, confidential, expert medical advice 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year from toxicology specialists, including nurses, pharmacists, physicians and poison information providers.