“I dare you to eat a spoonful of cinnamon.” These words are surprisingly familiar among teens.
Thousands of people have agreed to try — and videotape — this infamous dare; a search on YouTube for “cinnamon challenge” yields 775,000 results.
For anyone who hasn’t witnessed the fad, eating a spoonful of cinnamon is a nearly impossible task. Most of the videos show a predictable outcome, which includes coughing, gasping, spitting and reaching for water.
But what seems like a harmless prank is getting a dangerous “do not attempt” stamp from many health officials. Cinnamon challengers face a number of risks, including choking, chest pain, and even permanent lung damage. Dejah Reed–a 16-year-old freshman, was hospitalized with a collapsed lung and pneumonia after attempting the “cinnamon challenge.” Ever since, she’s been sending a strong message to teens and college students: “Don’t take the cinnamon challenge.”
Between 2011 and 2012 phone calls to poison control related to cinnamon misuse more than tripled–shooting from just 51 to 178.
Take Dejah’s advice, and do not attempt this one at home. And in case you’re curious about the next YouTube fad on the horizon — some videos suggest it will be snorting condoms — don’t try that one either.