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dangers-of-the-cinnamon-challenge-FINALSome say that a spoonful of cinnamon helps the medicine go down. Doctors are now saying that's not true.

It's the latest craze among teens: put a tablespoonful of cinnamon in your mouth and see if you can swallow it within a minute without using water to wash it down. Sounds pretty harmless and honestly, we can think of worse things our teens could be engaging in. 

But, the Cinnamon Challenge can be dangerous and has led to numerous calls to poison control, some of which have led to outright medical evaluations.  It's rather amusing to think that a spice used to jazz up foods could become a source of entertainment for our kids. But, do we need to lock it up with the liquor in the cupboard? 

What's the Cinnamon Challenge?

The cinnamon challenge has gotten so popular that there are videos all over the Internet showing different cinnamon challenge experiences, and the videos have spurred on our teens to try the same. YouTube videos abound on the subject and, truth be told, it actually does look pretty funny to watch. Amazingly, there is even a cinnamon challenge website with advice urging you to check with your doctor before trying it.  The website also shows videos of various teens alone or in groups gulping down cinnamon.

As the kids put a tablespoon of cinnamon in their mouths, the goal is to swallow it without any liquid, relying on saliva alone.  But, cinnamon actually dries up that saliva and coats the mouth. Iinstead, cinnamon brings on gagging, vomiting, throat irritation and coughing.  Worst of all, breathing struggles and even pneumonia can result. The cinnamon challenge is especially dangerous with asthmatics, for it results in shortness of breath.

History of the Cinnamon Challenge

Apparently the cinnamon challenge is nothing new, and can be traced back at least 10 years.

  • The cinnamon challenge can be traced back as early as 2001, and as a result, became a blog article, which quickly spread around the Internet.
  • Cinnamon challenge videos did not emerge until 2006 when one was posted entitled, “Pipe Attempts the Cinnamon Challenge.” Many videos followed depicting the same game but with different people attempting it.
  • Information on the cinnamon challenge can be found on both Yahoo Answers and Wikipedia. Even Facebook has pages that promote both the practice and the website, CinnamonChallenge.com. In 2008. The Urban Dictionary entered a definition for the game.  
  • The cinnamon challenge game became popular all over again in 2011 when another video surfaced on You Tube. Views of the video rose to 3.9 million watchers in only two months!

School Rules on The Cinnamon Challenge

In early 2012, a principal was suspended for not stopping cinnamon challenges during lunch hours. Having hit the news, the online YouTube videos only increased in number, with more kids trying it.

Pennsylvania prohibited students from wearing "open top boots" because the foot wear makes it easy to smuggle cinnamon and other materials into the school. 

The Cinnamon Challenge: A Parent's Advice

Though the cinnamon challenge seems comical and harmless, educate your children about the dangers of trying it. We would venture to say no one enjoys choking, coughing or vomiting, yet, these are teens and oftentimes we need to save them from themselves. Suggest and promote different ways for them to have fun. Offer to host a party at your home with movies, get them involved in fun group sports or just plain ground them from all friends forever. Just kidding...!

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