As a former supervisory Federal agent with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, it would seem natural to blog about the effects of narcotics and dangerous drugs. If someone had told me that I would one day be writing about the dangers of cinnamon-abuse, I simply would not have believed it.
But here we are.
The “cinnamon challenge” involves swallowing a spoonful of cinnamon in under sixty seconds without drinking any liquids. This phenomenon has gone viral with the help of videos on YouTube and Facebook.
Never mind that the cinnamon challenge is actually impossible to do in under 60 seconds. Don’t believe me? Take it from the Mythbusters:
You see, participants are supposed to fail. The entire point of this party stunt is to watch the (sometimes unknowing) challenger spit cinnamon everywhere, coughing, gagging, etc.
The big problem is that the cinnamon challenge can have very bad health consequences.
Last week I received a call from a client whose daughter tried the challenge and ended up in the emergency room of her local hospital. The 16-year-old gagged on the cinnamon, which resulted in breathing problems and she passed out. Fortunately, the ambulance got her to the hospital in time to resuscitate her. The bad news is that she has suffered permanent lung damage. Now she is required to use an inhaler during the day and a humidifier at night.
I interviewed the doctor who treated my client’s daughter. He advised her lung condition was the direct result of the cinnamon on the mucous membranes in the lungs. Although he has not heard of anyone dying yet from the cinnamon challenge, the medical profession is clear that the cinnamon challenge can definitely cause lung, throat and mouth injuries.
So what is the lesson for parents and caregivers regarding the cinnamon challenge to their teens?
Simply stated, sit down with them and explain that not only is this game not winnable, it has very serious health consequences.