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Cinnamon Challenge

Hot Topic Tuesday: The Cinnamon Challenge

Written on March 20, 2012 at 5:11 pm , by

A sprinkle in our oatmeal? Great. A spoonful straight-up? Not so cool. (Photo by Chris Gallo)

A disturbing, strange trend is making the rounds in schools and on YouTube. Have you heard of the Cinnamon Challenge? The “dare” is to swallow a tablespoon of ground cinnamon, without drinking anything, in less than one minute.

While it’s been flying under our radar until recently, the Cinnamon Challenge has been around since the early 2000s. It gained popularity recently across the globe when Big Brother UK used it as a challenge in 2011, and last month Illinois Governor Pat Quinn tried it on-air during a radio show. More than 30,000 individuals attempting the challenge have uploaded videos online involving the challenge, and some have more than 10 million views!

Cinnamon is certainly nutritious when you use it sparingly in recipes (it can lower blood pressure and cholesterol). In this case, however, it can be downright dangerous. Since it’s nearly impossible to avoid inhaling some of the spice, it’s very irritating to your lungs. The challenge often causes severe coughing and can even lead to pneumonia or an asthma attack, health experts have claimed. Even a site dedicated to the challenge includes a disclaimer that says, “It’s going to burn. You are going to cough, and regret you tried…” Yet many still give it a shot, trying to prove to their pals that they have the nerve (and kids have even been found to sneak cinnamon into school inside roomy boots to try this).

Now tell us: Have you talked to your youngsters about this topic? What do you think school leadership and others can do to limit the popularity of the Cinnamon Challenge?