You may have heard your kids talking about the so-called "cinnamon challenge," a prank that's often showcased in YouTube videos and is popular on the Web. It involves trying to eat a spoonful of ground cinnamon in 60 seconds without water. It may seem simple enough, but it's almost impossible to do. Not only that, it can be extremely dangerous and lead to long-term or life-threatening health problems. So it's important that kids know that the cinnamon challenge is no joke.
Cinnamon is made from tree bark and contains cellulose, a substance that doesn't break down easily. While tolerable in very small amounts, in larger concentrated amounts cinnamon can cause kids to gag, cough, choke, and have a burning sensation in the mouth, nose, and throat. More serious reactions include vomiting, nosebleeds, and tightness in the chest.
It's also possible for someone to inhale cinnamon while choking or gagging on it, which can cause inflammation in the lungs, a thickening of lung tissue, and scarring. This can lead to pneumonia, a collapsed lung, and/or permanent lung damage. And kids with asthma or other respiratory problems are at risk for severe breathing difficulties while attempting this challenge.
Talk to your kids about the dangers of ingesting large amounts of cinnamon and encourage them to say "no" to this unfortunate trend. And encourage them to share the truth about this risky prank with any friends who might be tempted to try it.
Reviewed by: Kate M. Cronan, MD
Date reviewed: May 2013
|American Lung Association The mission of this group is to prevent lung disease and promote lung health. Contact the group at: American Lung Association|
61 Broadway, 6th Floor
NY, NY 10006
|American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) The AAP is committed to the health and well-being of infants, adolescents, and young adults. The website offers news articles and tips on health for families.|
|American Academy of Family Physicians This site, operated by the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), provides information on family physicians and health care, a directory of family physicians, and resources on health conditions.|
|Lungs and Respiratory System By the time we're 70 years old, we will have taken at least 600 million breaths. All of this breathing couldn't happen without the respiratory system.|
|Lungs and Respiratory System Each day you breathe about 20,000 times. Find out more about the lungs and breathing process.|
|Movie: Lungs & Respiratory System Watch this movie about the respiratory system, the system that enables you to breathe.|
|What Should I Do if My Friend Is Having an Asthma Attack? Find out what the experts have to say.|
|Asthma Center Asthma keeps more kids home from school than any other chronic illness. Learn how to help your child manage the condition, stay healthy, and stay in school.|
|Peer Pressure Responding to peer pressure is part of human nature — but some people are more likely to give in, and others are better able to resist and stand their ground. Find out how to make the right choices for you.|
|Your Lungs & Respiratory System What's something kids are doing all day, every day? Breathing! Your lungs are large and in charge of breathing, so read all about them in this article.|
|Choking Choking is an emergency - so it's important to recognize the signs of choking and know what to do if happens.|
|Choking Have you ever gotten a piece of food stuck in your throat or swallowed your drink "down the wrong pipe"? Find out more about choking and how to prevent it.|
|Dealing With Peer Pressure Did you ever feel like another kid was trying to get you to do something you didn't want to do? If so, you've felt peer pressure. Find out more in this article for kids.|
What to expect when coming to Akron Children's
For healthcare providers and nurses
Residency & Fellowships, Medical Students, Nursing and Allied Health
For prospective employees and career-seekers
Our online community that provides inspirational stories and helpful information.