‘Cinnamon challenge’ not worth the risks, researchers say

Miami – The so-called “cinnamon challenge” – swallowing a tablespoon of the spice without any liquid – could result in lung damage, warns an article from the University of Miami.

Cinnamon does not dissolve or biodegrade in the lungs, and while a small amount with food is fine, consuming large amounts could induce coughing, choking and burning in the mouth, researchers found.

In the first six months of 2012, poison control centers received 178 calls related to cinnamon, 122 of which were categorized as intentional misuse or abuse. Roughly 30 cases required medical attention, including for collapsed lungs. Although the effects are usually temporary, the stunt could cause serious damage, particularly in people who are allergic to cinnamon or have respiratory conditions such as asthma, according to the article.

The cinnamon challenge is popular among young people, and was depicted in more than 51,000 YouTube videos as of August 2012, according to a press release from the American Academy of Pediatrics, which published the study.

Researchers advised parents, schools and doctors to educate children about the risks of the activity.

The article was published online April 22 in the journal Pediatrics.

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