Are Your Students Taking the Cinnamon Challenge?

CHICAGO — A new fad among teens, called the cinnamon challenge, has led to hospitalizations and a surge in calls to U.S. poison centers.

The cinnamon challenge urges someone to swallow a spoonful of ground cinnamon in 60 seconds without water. Since cinnamon is made from tree bark and contains cellulose fibers that don’t break down easily, gulping it down can cause choking, throat irritation, breathing trouble and possible collapsed lungs, the Associated Press reports.

The prank has spurred an increase in calls to poison control centers. According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, there were as many as 222 calls about teens engaging in the prank, up from 51 in 2011.

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