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Health Experts: Don't Do the Cinnamon Challenge

Cinnamon is used as a tasty ingredient for cookies, breads, and toast. As for the Cinnamon Challenge, health experts around the country are warning teens: don't do it. Despite that, there are more and more examples of this dangerous trend on YouTube every day.

Gov. Pat Quinn took the Cinnamon Challenge at a radio station in Chicago. The Democrat succeeded and it didn't even look like it was a challenge for him. But if you look at other videos on YouTube, other people haven't been so lucky.

"It has really, really dangerous consequences," Dr. Ashish John, a pediatrician with Koke Mill Medical Associates in Springfield, said.

The Cinnamon Challenge is where a person tries to eat one tablespoon of cinnamon without the use of water in under 60 seconds. It's something many young people are trying and posting on YouTube. 

Audrey Levault and Clint Amos are students at Edinburg High School. Audrey said one of her friends attempted the challenge.

"It was gross," Audrey said. "He put the cinnamon in his mouth and he threw up."

"I think it's stupid," Clint said. "Why would you want to make yourself puke?"

So what could happen to you if do the Cinnamon Challenge?

"Cinnamon is basically tree bark," John said. "It's these really hard fibers that don't devolve really well. If they get into your lungs, they can cause all sorts of problems."

Those problems include choking, throat irritation, breathing trouble, or collapsed lungs. For people with asthma or other respiratory conditions, long-term effects could take place.

"This tends to form a paste when it hits your saliva, so it becomes really easy for it to go down the wrong tube," John said. "So instead of it going down into your stomach it gets down in your lungs."

"I think kids around here, they get bored, and they try dumb challenges," Audrey said.

We reached out to Quinn's office for comment, asking if the governor regrets doing the Cinnamon Challenge and if he has any advice for young people. We did not hear back.