A potentially harmful cinnamon powder stunt that can be seen on the Internet is the subject of a warning issued Monday by the West Texas Regional Poison Center, the El Paso Times reported.
The “cinnamon challenge” videos show people who are dared to try swallowing large amounts of cinnamon powder, but poison experts say that the practice is harmful and can cause violent coughing and respiratory distress, as well as vomiting and allergic reactions, the Times said.
Health officials said the dry powder coats the mucous membrane, causing a person to have trouble breathing, and that people with asthma or a respiratory illness are especially at risk, the paper reported.
According to MSN.com’s Health Hub, the practice has been around for years, but only recently has attracted new interest, thanks to more than 30,000 videos of the stunt being uploaded on social media sites.
The video of one woman who ladled dry cinnamon in her mouth and her ensuing coughing fit alone has drawn more than 10 million hits, according to MSN.com.
The so-called cinnamon challenge has been taken up recently by a couple of NBA basketball players and even Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn during an interview on WGN-AM radio, MSN.com reported.
A spokesman for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently told The Wall Street Journal that the “challenge” is “an obvious choking hazard and there is a risk of inhaling the dust. This certainly is not advisable,” MSN.com said.