Increasing in popularity on video social media sites such as YouTube, the stunt known as the “cinnamon challenge”, which is thought to be funny and entertaining is actually hazardous to the challenger’s own health, and well-being.
The videos show individuals swallowing a spoonful of powdered cinnamon and their subsequent reactions. In a majority of the videos, the participants to the stunt are shown gagging, coughing, choking and in obvious pain. Viewers can hear the videographer and friends laughing in the background as their friends struggle to drink some water to ease the discomfort and pain in their throat.
What the cinnamon challenge participants don’t realize is that this silly stunt can prove to be poisonous, as well as deadly, according to Dr. Steven E. Lipshultz, an author of a 2011 report and a professor of pediatrics at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.
The 2011 report indicated that 51 incidents of the cinnamon challenge were handled by the American Association of Poison Control Centers. From January to July, in 2012, there were 178 calls associated with the challenge that were handled by the Poison Control Center. Many of the individuals needing medical treatment were suffering from nose bleeds, constricted air passageways, vomiting, and burning sensations according to Bernardo Chua on Facebook.
The spice, intended for baking purposes, is a caustic irritant to the airways. Cinnamon contains cellulose which can become lodged in the lungs and cause scarring.