They are usually inhaled, and sometimes heated up before inhalation. It is also not impossible for the nitric oxide to be injected, but this is less common. There are many symptoms of aerosol intoxication including disorientation, slurred speech, hallucinations, and movement disorders (Sharp & Rosenberg, 2005). People who misuse aerosols can become highly addicted to the practice and go through withdrawals when they stop. They can also have euphoria, depression, mood swings, and a high heart rate. Problems with cognitive abilities and memory are seen in users of aerosol, and brain damage can be permanent in some cases (Sharp & Rosenberg, 2005). Many patients who seek treatment for an addiction to aerosol do so to get counseling for behavioral changes (Sharp & Rosenberg, 2005).
The "cinnamon challenge" is becoming popular among young people based on a child who was dared to swallow a spoonful of cinnamon within one minute with no water. Cinnamon coats and dries out the mouth, and can cause gagging, coughing, vomiting, and choking (Painter, 2012). In more serious cases a person who tries this challenge can experience throat irritation and breathing difficulties, along with an increased risk of pneumonia (Painter, 2012). Asthmatics are particularly at risk from this practice (Painter, 2012). The danger of the cinnamon challenge is generally overlooked by young people because the idea of the challenge has become a YouTube sensation. Since it seems like a funny thing to do, it is being tried more and more often - sometimes with results that require calls to poison control as well as medical evaluation for the symptoms experienced from attempting the challenge.
Laws and Regulations
There are no laws and regulations that specifically control the items these young people are using to harm themselves. Aerosol is found in many items that can be purchased by anyone, cinnamon is used all the time in cooking, and energy boosters are some of the hottest and most popular things on the market today. Whether that is good or bad is not up for debate. What is most important is that there needs to be more public awareness of these kinds of behaviors. The schools system is a good place to start with that. YouTube videos and other Internet sites that show people engaging in these practices should be removed. Celebrities could also help spread the word, since younger people often look up to celebrities and want to emulate them. In the future, it may be possible for an 18-and-up ban to be placed on aerosol products and energy boosters, but it is very unlikely that cinnamon will ever have such a ban. Not everyone misusing any of these products is under 18, so there are no guarantees as to how well these potential guidelines would actually work.
In short, the cinnamon challenge along with the misuse of energy boosters and aerosol are all highly dangerous practices. Until the people who are engaging in them and/or are considering engaging in them realize this, though, it is likely that the practices will continue. Currently, there is no plan to ban or regulate any of the offending substances, most likely because there are very few people who are misusing these substances. No one likes to be treated like a criminal simply because they want to purchase something that is perfectly legal, so placing regulations on these kinds of items may be met with very strong resistance. If that is the case, it remains to be seen whether the bans and regulations would go through in spite of the complaints or whether public outcry would win out over safety.
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Painter, Kim. (2012). "Cinnamon challenge:" Viral videos that can make kids sick. USA Today.
Sharp, Charles W; Rosenberg, Neil L (2005). "Inhalants." In Lowinson, Joyce H. Substance Abuse: A Comprehensive Textbook (4th ed.). Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
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