Doctors See "Cinnamon Challenge" as a Recipe for Disaster
Jim LiebeltJim is Senior Writer, Editor and Researcher for the HomeWord Center for Youth and Family at Azusa Pacific University. Jim has over 25 years of experience as a youth and family ministry specialist, and has been on the HomeWord staff since 1998. He has served over the years as a pastor, author, youth ministry trainer, adjunct college instructor and speaker. Jim’s culture blog and parenting articles appear on HomeWord.com. Jim is a contributing author of culture and parenting articles to Crosswalk.com. Jim and his wife Jenny live in Olympia, WA.
- 2012 Mar 26
It is known as “the cinnamon challenge.’’ You try to swallow a spoonful of cinnamon without drinking water - or vomiting - preferably as a video camera is rolling. It may sound like silly fun, but health professionals and a growing number of local school systems are warning parents that the practice can cause health problems including respiratory distress and choking.
The YouTube generation finds the trend hilarious. How else to explain the more than 10.9 million hits for a video of a woman with big gold earrings spewing cinnamon after a failed attempt? Or the 30,000 cinnamon-related videos on the website? The challenge has been around for years, but a video posted by two NBA players, and the growth of social media and camera-enabled smart phones, have sent it viral in recent months.
Doctors aren’t laughing. They say the practice can cause serious injuries.
“The biggest problem is that the powder dries your mouth and throat, which makes it easier for it to enter your lungs instead of your stomach,’’ said James Mojica, a pulmonologist at Massachusetts General Hospital.That, in turn, can inflame the lungs, and lead to breathing difficulties, an acute lung injury, an aspiration pneumonia, or lung scarring.
Youths - the very people most commonly ingesting the cinnamon - are at particular risk, Mojica said. “Young patients can generate such high pressure when they cough that their lungs can collapse.’’