Commentary: It’s amazing how many different herbs, spices, extracts, seasonings, etc., teenagers will try to get a high from because their peers have told them they’ve tried it and liked it or that they’re daring them to try something they’ve tried. I don’t believe teenagers stop to recognize the consequences and dangers that these type additives can have on them, and especially, if they have certain types of allergy reactions too.
Teenagers who are daring each other to swallow a spoonful of ground cinnamon in a 60 second time frame and to swallow it without water is risky. Spices are caustic and when people gulp it down they could end up in an emergency ward of a hospital in serious condition.
Cinnamon is powdery and it is hard to swallow in the first place but it can also cause a person to choke to death, get a throat irritation, and have breathing problems and possibly both lungs will collapse also. I would suppose the powdery substance could be sucked down and into a person’s lungs and could cause them to stop breathing too. I cannot imagine having my breathe shut off for a period of time because I get choked too easily myself.
In an online published report in Pediatrics it indicated at least 30 teenagers nationwide required medical attention after accepting the dare to swallow a spoonful of cinnamon.
I saw a man on Jay Leno’s Show do this in the audience and I could not believe the affect it had on him and I cannot imagine a youngster trying it. I would be leery about being in a crowd of youngsters who would suggest trying this challenge.
According to various reports poison control center calls have increased drastically concerning teenagers who are doing the cinnamon prank and having severe consequences from their dare. In 2011 there were 51 calls and it increased to 222 in 2012 according to the American Association of Poison Control Centers.
Cinnamon comes from the bark of a tree and it has cellulose fibers that don’t break down to easily. Researchers suggest that cinnamon can cause lung scarring also.
A spokesman for the American Academy of Pediatrics and an Austin, Texas pediatrician, Dr. Stephen Pont said, "A call to arms to parents and doctors to be aware of things like the cinnamon challenge" and parents need to pay attention to what their teenagers are watching online and to warn them of the hazards of cinnamon swallowing.
Teenagers need to be made aware that when their breathing is cut off from cinnamon being inhaled into their lungs that they could pass out and possibly choke to death before they could get to a hospital.
Barbara Kasey Smith is the writer of this article.