SHESPEAKS Your Power to Influence

The "Cinnamon Challenge": Riskier Than Teens Think


Out of all the risky behavior we hear teens take part in, the “cinnamon challenge” sounds like one of the more innocuous of the thrill-seeking activities. The challenge is simple, adolescents are daring or encouraging their friends to swallow one tablespoon of cinnamon without drinking any water in under 60 seconds.

Sounds easy to most, but the challenge is actually next to impossible and will most likely induce coughing or vomiting and in some cases warrant a visit to the hospital. A recent Chicago Tribune report discusses the dangers of the popular cinnamon challenge.

The spice cinnamon has some great and delicious uses, but eating it raw is generally unpleasant and poses some risks. Ingesting cinnamon without water will immediately dry the mouth causing gagging, throat irritation and can even lead to pneumonia when inhaled. Teens with asthma are at an even more serious risk of developing shortness of breath and a full on asthma attack.

In just the last few months the poison centers across the nations have had 139 calls regarding the misuse and ingestion of cinnamon. Hundreds of videos have surfaced on Youtube where teens document the effects of the cinnamon challenge on their friends.

Dr. Alvin C. Bronstein, medical and managing director of Rocky Mountain Poison and Drug Center, advises parents to talk to their teens about the dangers of this innocent sounding challenge. Bronstein says, “"We urge parents and caregivers to talk to their teens about the cinnamon challenge, explaining to their teens that what may seem like a silly game can have serious health consequences.”

What do you think of the reports about the dangers of the cinnamon challenge?

How do you talk to your teen about risky thrill-seeking behavior?

  • By Tricias-List

    Oh no...something else I'm gonna have to look out for. Getting my list of "why not to do this" done right now. Thank you for the insight ...

  • By Hiiyooitscat

    who came up with this challenge in the first place? the first time i heard about this was on youtube.. where people were posting videos of the challenge they did with friends.. I would never do this..

  • By msfriendly

    I've heard about this. I'm sure kids think it's harmless fun. So, our job as parents is to INFORM them!

  • By JessicaLD1

    I have seen videos of this. Not sure why anyone would do this.

  • By floflolinda

    I think this is crazy! Why would anyone want to do this. Of course there are dangers, it is a powdered spice, that can potentially make its way into your lungs. I don't have teenagers ..yet but I hope that I can raise them with enough common sense and better judgement.

More stories like this