A study published in the latest issue of Pediatrics — the official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics — is issuing a "call to arms to parents and doctors" who are unaware of the serious medical conditions that could arise from engaging in the so-called Cinnamon Challenge.
The popular video meme involves an attempt to swallow an entire spoonful of cinnamon within 60 seconds unaided liquid.
Researchers from the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine say that participating in the challenge could lead to a host of complications, including throat irritation, lung scarring and even emphysema.
According to lead researcher Dr. Steven E. Lipshultz, cinnamon, being made from tree bark, contains cellulose fibers that can't be broken down by the body and may cause serious damage to the lungs if inhaled.
"I was laughing very hard and I coughed it out and I inhaled it into my lungs," 16-year-old Dejah Reed said. "I couldn't breathe."
And Dejah is far from alone.
The American Association of Poison Control Centers reports that calls to the poison control center from teens who have taken the challenge "has increased dramatically" (from 51 in '11 to 222 in '12).
And Dr. Pont's study found that at least 30 teens required hospitalization as a result of ingesting cinnamon in the last year alone.