A potentially harmful prank has more than 50,000 videos on Google’s YouTube (NASDAQ:GOOG).
The prank — the so-called “cinnamon challenge” — has young people swallowing a spoonful of dry cinnamon so that they can gag and spew out orange dust, USA Today reports.
Unfortunately, participating in the challenge can have serious health consequences. Those who do so can experience some temporary unpleasantness — such as choking and burning in the mouth, nose and throat — but there can also be longer-term problems. Some of those doing so have suffered lesions of the airway, scarring of the throat and even permanent lung damage. Animal testing shows that some exposures can lead to the equivalent of “an elderly person developing emphysema and needing oxygen.”
The journal Pediatrics reports that more than 30 cases in 2012 required medical attention. Further, the American Association of Poison Control Centers reported that the number of harmful cinnamon exposures last year climbed to 222 from 51 in 2011.