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What is the hot chocolate challenge?

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The Hot Chocolate Challenge involves taking a spoonful of hot cocoa mix, using the biggest spoon possible, and attempting to swallow it without coughing, spitting it out or using any liquids to wash it down. This must be completed within 60 seconds. The challenge is particularly popular among youth, who usually capture it on video and upload it to social media.

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As of 2015, the Hot Chocolate Challenge is a newer version of the Cinnamon Challenge, which also involves attempting to eat a heaping spoonful of powder. In 2013, there were over 40,000 videos on YouTube chronicling kids' Cinnamon Challenge attempts.

Both dares are potentially detrimental to the person's health. Attempting to consume a large quantity of a powder-like substance triggers the throat's gag reflex, frequently resulting in coughing or exhaling the powder in a puff. The Cinnamon Challenge website calls this "dragon breath."

Inhaling either powder can be caustic to the airways, causing inflammation and scaring of the lungs. This can cause burning in the airways, nosebleeds, vomiting and difficulty breathing. Many challenge participants end up calling poison control or visiting the emergency room. The challenge is particularly dangerous for people who have asthma, as it could cause an asthma attack or uncontrollable spasms.

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