Tween and Teenagers
The Cinnamon Challenge Is the Latest Teen Fad…and It's Dangerous
Just because you saw it on YouTube doesn't mean you should try it.
This is now the warning that every mother has to drill into her impressionable teen's head. You think jumping off a bridge because your friends are doing it is bad? Well, teen pranks are getting more and more ridiculous and more and more dangerous.
The latest fad is called the "Cinnamon Challenge." It involves swallowing a spoonful of ground cinnamon in 60 seconds without drinking any water. It's stupid–but it doesn't sound that harmful, right?
Wrong. A report published online Monday in Pediatrics said at least 30 teens nationwide needed medical attention after taking the challenge last year.
The number of poison control center calls about teens doing the prank "has increased dramatically," from 51 in 2011 to 222 last year, according to the American Association of Poison Control Centers.
"People with asthma or other respiratory conditions are at greater risk of having this result in shortness of breath and trouble breathing," according to an alert posted on the association's website.
And it's not just those with existing conditions who need to be careful. "The cellulose doesn't break down," said Dr. Steven E. Lipshultz, an author of the new report and a professor of pediatrics at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. "So when it gets into the lungs it sits there long term, and if it's coated with this caustic cinnamon oil, that leads to chronic inflammation and eventually scarring of the lungs, something we call pulmonary fibrosis. Getting scarring in the lungs is equivalent to getting emphysema."
On YouTube, tens of thousands of videos show people shoveling a spoonful of ground cinnamon into their mouths. The videos show them coughing (the orange burst of powder from the coughing is referred to as "dragon breath"), choking and reaching desperately for water, usually as friends watch and laugh hysterically in the background.
See an example of a YouTube video below:
A Michigan teen who was hospitalized for a collapsed lung after trying the cinnamon challenge heartily supports the new advice and started her own website telling teens to "just say no" to the fad.
Are kids THAT bored today? Should we blame social media for making these stunts viral and therefore more attractive to teens?