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Health & School Leaders Warn Parents About The Dangerous Cinnamon Challenge

BALTIMORE (WJZ)-- It is a disturbing Internet sensation. People, mostly teens, are trying to swallow a teaspoon of cinnamon quickly.

As Monique Griego explains, this is very dangerous and puts people in the hospital.

Check out social media uploads and you can find hundreds of videos.

The Cinnamon Challenge is an old stunt making the rounds with a new generation of teens.

"I've seen it happen a few times. I've seen a few kids throw up from it," said one.

"A lot of people throw up. I haven't seen anyone try it without throwing up. I honestly think it's impossible," said another.

The challenge works like this: A person is supposed to swallow a tablespoon of ground cinnamon in 60 seconds without drinking anything. However, the results typically are coughing, gagging, and sometimes vomiting. There's always burning pain.

"It tasted very bad."

A ninth-grader, who doesn't want to be identified, was dared to do it.

"And as soon as I inhaled some of it, I coughed some of it out. And it wasn't a good feeling," the student said.

There are no accounts of death by the challenge, but doctors say it's a dangerous dare. It can raise blood sugar levels, burn the throat and cause long-term lung damage, especially in people with asthma.

"If it gets into the lungs, it's an absolute irritant," Dr. Joseph Greensher, vice president of pediatrics at Winthrop University Hospital in Long Island, N.Y., said. "It's a foreign body and it can create an asthma attack to pneumonia."

Even the site devoted to the challenge has a disclaimer on its homepage: "Do not attempt. The Cinnamon Challenge can be dangerous."

"It's dangerous. And I just really don't want to have that feeling ever again," said one person.

Despite the serious health risks, popular athletes and even a politician have attempted the challenge. Right now, health and school leaders are just trying to let parents know how dangerous it can be.

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