"The Cinnamon Challenge" is a Scary Spice

What may seem to be a simple and harmless gag, swallowing spoonfuls of cinnamon has turned into the latest online craze and has some serious side effects. INSIDE EDITION explains.

It's the latest scary craze - swallowing spoonfuls of powdered cinnamon.

It's called "The Cinnamon Challenge" and there are literally hundreds of YouTube videos and websites devoted to it.

How it usually turns out is far from appealing. People choke, vomit and cough up clouds of cinnamon dust.

Eating whole spoonfuls of powdered cinnamon is much more dangerous than it looks. Some teenagers taking "The Cinnamon Challenge" have ended up at emergency rooms and some have been hospitalized for days. The fine cinnamon powder may also cause long-term damage to the lungs.

INSIDE EDITION showed some of the shocking videos to Dr. Marc Siegel.

"Too much cinnamon in the lungs could be toxic, it could interfere with breathing. It can form an inflamation. You do not want to take a lot of cinnamon all at once," said Dr. Siegel.

Incredibly, the Governor of Illinois, Pat Quinn, took "The Cinnamon Challenge" on a talk radio show recently but needed some water to get it down.  

Even NBA stars Nick Young and Javale McGee of the Washington Wizards tried The Cinnamon Challenge" in a YouTube video viewed a 100,000 times.

Many of the viral videos are shot in schools and the principal of a school in New Haven, Connecticut, was placed on leave for not stopping students taking "The Cinnamon Challenge" in the lunchroom.

But everyone doing "The Cinnamon Challenge" could be risking their lives. So don't do this at home.