The Cinnamon Challenge
Special Report: The Cinnamon Challenge
It started as a viral video but now the teenage trend is causing concerns in local schools; it’s a dangerous dare that could leave your kids gasping for air called the “cinnamon challenge.”
It’s called “the cinnamon challenge,” but there's nothing sweet about what can happen.
Kids are trying to swallow a spoonful of the powdery spice without drinking any water. The problem is, it can't be done -- and it can damage your lungs.
Trevor Lapre of Lexington tried the challenge.
“At first it was like dry and mushy it and then next I knew I couldn’t breathe,” Lapre said.
So did Amanda Barros.
“It was horrible. I spit it out in the first three seconds it like burned it’s not pleasant at all,” she said.
So many kids are trying it; there are now more than 42,000 all over YouTube.
Local schools are concerned.
“I think it’s the whole phenomenon of being on YouTube, being the star of your own show, being challenged by your peers it's another form of peer pressure but widespread,” said Kate Donnelly, Brookline Schools.
Brookline and some other towns have sent home letters warning parents "the game can have serious consequences.”
“Students are unaware of the damage that could it cause, it’s very irritating it can swell the respiratory passages the throat and you are at risk to inhale the cinnamon,” said Donnelly.
Across the country, there have been 256 cases involving cinnamon reported to poison centers so far this year.
Dr. James Mojica, a lung specialist at Mass. General, says the cinnamon challenge could lead to some serious health problems.
“The biggest concern is what the cinnamon does to your lungs when it’s inhaled. It’s small enough that it can get pretty deep into your lung and we really don’t know what affect it has,” Dr. Mojica said.
In extreme cases, the forceful coughing fits can actually collapse part of a kid's lung.
“If you generate a very large pressure in your lungs in theory the lungs are a balloon and they can in a sense pop, not fully pop but you can have a small rupture that will cause air to leak around the lung,” Dr. Mojica said.
The risk is especially high for children with asthma or other respiratory issues.