Popular trend among teens can cause lung damage

By: Ashley Park Email
By: Ashley Park Email

ADA, OK -- The cinnamon challenge is a popular trend among adults and teenagers -- as seen on websites like YouTube.

Teens are often dared to swallow a spoonful of cinnamon without any water or fluids. Few people have succeeded, and most people fail.

"As soon as you close your mouth it dawns in your head that I shouldn't have done that, because your mouth just gets so dry," said Jennifer Williams, who has attempted the cinnamon challenge.

Family nurse practitioner, Gina Justus, says the prank is not worth the high risk to your health.

"It can clog up the respiratory system," said Justus. "It can result in localized irritation, even up to and include a collapsed lung."

Poison control centers across the country have received a significant amount of calls regarding the prank from 51 calls in 2011 to over 200 last year. Justus says cinnamon is caustic and many aren't aware of how dangerous it can be when this is attempted.

"One exposure can cause ongoing, long-term damage to lung tissue," said Justus. "It's comparable to coal dust that we know resulted in black lung."

ECU student, Randi Camp, tried the challenge and says peer pressure is a big reason why teens do it. She says it's not worth the risk no matter how many times a person is dared.

"It hurts a lot, so I wouldn't suggest people to do it, just because you don't get anything done by it."

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