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What Is the Cinnamon Challenge?

The Dangerous "Challenge" to Discuss With Your Kids

We know the dangers of huffing and smoking, but who knew that our kids' safety could be in danger from a simple spice in the cupboard? Kids are actually being hospitalized after taking the "Cinnamon Challenge." What is it, why is it so dangerous, and what are moms doing to address it? Keep reading.

What Is the Cinnamon Challenge?

I have to admit I had never heard of this crazy dare until I read an article in Forbes called, "5 Reasons Not to Take the Cinnamon Challenge." Even once I knew that kids are challenging each other to swallow a tablespoonful of the spice (without any liquids) in a minute, it seemed ridiculous to me that any kids would take the challenge.

In fact, so many kids are doing it that there is a website devoted to the Cinnamon Challenge, the American Academy of Pediatrics has put out an entire publication explaining the dangers of the behavior and the American Association of Poison Control Centers issued a widespread warning!


Aside from being unwise, it apparently can be dangerous, too. Kids are choking, aspirating, having asthma attacks, and being hospitalized for collapsed lungs by doing the Cinnamon Challenge.

Every Generation Has Their "Cinnamon Challenge"

While this particular dare may be new, many moms pointed out that every generation has their own stupid things to try. Denikka G. recalled that when she was in high school it was snorting crushed-up tart candies.

She went on to describe other trends, too: "Playing chicken with cars, chubby bunny, the cinnamon challenge . . . there's always something new and dumb to do."

More recently, dumb trends have included smoking the spice salvia and "huffing," both of which can cause damage to lungs and respiratory function like the Cinnamon Challenge.

Talking to Kids About the "Cinnamon Challenge"

But it's not enough to simply shrug our shoulders and say "Kids will do stupid things," or "When I was a kid, the stupid thing we did was . . ." Regardless of what the trend is, it's still important to check in with and talk to your kids about it.

When I asked my teenager about the Cinnamon Challenge, she said she'd heard of it and knew some kids who had tried it, which surprised me. I thought maybe it wasn't a widespread phenomena, but Circle of Moms members disproved that theory.

One mom, Jodi, is from Australia. She said she learned of the Cinnamon Challenge almost a year ago when her teenage son showed her one of the thousands of videos kids trying it have posted to YouTube.

In answer to my tongue-in-cheek question as to whether parents now need a lock on the spice cabinet as well as the liquor cabinet, Jodi says, "Surely a teenager is old enough to understand the difference between a little spice on something and a huge spoonful of it once you've had a discussion with them."

I thought so, but maybe not. Jodi thinks it's the discussion with your kids that may be lacking when it comes to stupid stuff like this and she's probably right. As mom Shawwn L. points out, kids will do stupid things, but if you instill some common sense in your kids, they're less likely to try these "challenges."

Although Bettina B. was referring specifically to huffing, you can insert any other trend into her sentence and it still not only rings true, but is also perhaps the best comment on why you need to have these discussions. She says, "Teaching kids the dangers of huffing is extremely important because they don't know what they don't know!"

This article has been updated to reflect the following correction: No known deaths have been caused by the Cinnamon Challenge.

Join The Conversation
BettyKyle BettyKyle 4 years
Toughen up cupcake ( to those winging about winging crybaby generations and what not) who makes a generation....those who taught it and where there leading the way, showing the next generation how to live. If we all got put back into the 1930 we'd all be cry babies going from now to them we wouldn't know what to do. As for the article, you really do need to keep on top of these things. I've known people over 10 years ago that get things out of the cupboard and eat or inject themselves with, it still surprises me what some people will come up with. But I just ask myself why what do you have to gain out of choking and stopping breathing. Just a stupid thing to do.
MonikaWoods MonikaWoods 4 years
the hav been doing this for over a year. It's kind of old. Yes, it is dangerous too.
April14377653 April14377653 4 years
I recently found out my 13yo was invited to try the Caffeine Challenge on the country school bus on the way home. The aim was to eat and chew as many coffee beans as you can. How I found out was worse- I caught her ripping up tea bags and chewing the tea leaves - preparation for the Tea Bag Challenge, of course. I suggested they try our flu remedy for a Garlic Challenge- try chewing a clove or two! She agreed they would hate it. Then she realised I thought it was stupid and we discussed anaphylactic allergies, mildew dust that can be on spices, coffee beans and tea leaves (and lead to respiratory problems). I asked her not to participate in these challenges and rang the school. Doubt anything will get done until someone dies, though.
FawnMiller FawnMiller 4 years
For the people who say 'this is so yesterday' or that a generation is whiney emos & need to try challenges like this to basically toughen ridiculous & makes me very mad! I have 4 kids of my own ranging from 6 to 15, plus 2 stepsons in their early 20s, and I have never heard of this. I'm grateful that articles like this are posted. My oldest daughter passed away when she was 8, not due to any of this, maybe a little, she drowned on a dare from a bunch of girls to go off the high board, she couldn't swim very well. So when someone says stuff like that it infuriates me! And unfortunately she isnt coming back. When ppl do these 'challenges' or dares from their friends, no one realizes the consequences that can happen until it's too late. Thats why we need to educate our kids. So that they have the knowledge. Thank you for the article. I've talked to my kids about drugs & peer pressure, never thot I'd hve to talk to them about cinnamon...but I will.
ziggy1962 ziggy1962 4 years
While it is always good to talk with your children (and not waiting until they are teenagers), the cinnamon challenge first surfaced in 2001. It resurfaced in 2007 & with YouTube, it is popular again. I have a 17 & 23 year old, so I make sure I stay on top of all the "teen trends" going around. But as many comments state, there are still parents who are not aware of this challenge.
Trish51939 Trish51939 4 years
Never heard of it. My youngest teenager is 16. Obviously kids don't tell you everything, that's why sites like this are good. For those who think that it's a joke or something to be dismissed or as TreasireBrown puts it, that "challenges" are good, do you guys have a teenage child? Do you understand what 'dead' means? Kids have died due to lung complications through trying some of this stuff. So it's not a 'challenge', it's just plain moronic. A challenge would be doing something good for someone else, raising money or awareness or pushing yourself to lose weight, etc. Clearly it's a 'challenge' for some of you to grasp the concept of helpful advice and the purpose of sites such as these.
TreasireBrown TreasireBrown 4 years
Maybe "challenges" are good. I mean. Generation Y is a bunch of emo-crybabies.
OnmywaytocarolshouseCarolPittel OnmywaytocarolshouseCarolPittel 4 years
Thank goodness for the parents who are aware : )
YadiraCarbajaldePena YadiraCarbajaldePena 4 years
Wolfcat87 they are teenagers that's why they try this crap, because they don't know better, because the peer pressure is too much.
joannfleischmanSchimpf joannfleischmanSchimpf 4 years
anything to do with the lungs is bad!
PhillipaSenior PhillipaSenior 4 years
What next! The trouble is that teens think they are invincible and that the bad stuff that happens to others that take the challenge won't happen to them.
EmilyHanson44937 EmilyHanson44937 4 years
OB and by the way wolfcat.. God help them if you two have children!! What the hell are you thinking??!! For one YOU as an adult are irresponsible enough to try it?? And what teen is smart enough to 'know what they are doing' with anything let alone know how to properly abuse a common house hold seasoning??!! You're an adult??!! Really??!! Uhh!! Some of our population amaze me... The more evolved of all the species..lmAo!!! Yeah right!!!lol
EmilyHanson44937 EmilyHanson44937 4 years
Thank you!! And to those ignorant people who just blow this off as yesterday news..I'm sorry for you and the waste of your precious two minutes!! I really wish you could get them back somehow!! Ok, not really!! For one, here in Minnesota or at least in this part of Minnesota I have have never heard of the cinnamon issue.. I've heard of the nutmeg but this one for me is new!! And those others that one woman mentioned are all new to me as we'll!!?? I would love it if you would elaborate on those maybe?:) I have two (yes for those of you unfortunate few still laboring through this archaic news reading..that means t w i n s..) nearly 4 yr olds and I realize this may be history by the time they come of age to try this but I do work in the adult CD world and still have yet to hear about this and find it fascinating and educational!! Thank You!!:) those of us adults appreciate it!!:))
JaneMichelson JaneMichelson 4 years
Thanks for the great information. There was another dumb challenge created by teens last year called "elevator" where they tie a shirt around the other;s neck for a minute and it feels like you're in an elevator--or supposedly. i asked my son's teacher and she had known about it for years. Sadly, many kids were killed by this one. Thanks and keep up the good awareness for us moms to enlighten our precious kiddos. Sincerely, Joshwalla
ShannonJuarez ShannonJuarez 4 years
While this article is informative, telling us how the teens get it into their bodies (by swallowing without water), it doesn't go any further, as to how it affects the teens, what happens after they have swallowed this. I had to ask someone what the effects were and was a bit shocked that this article did not inform readers that these children were choking on this stuff. I have a teenaged daughter, and I will talk with her about it, but I was a little disappointed in the lack of information that could be used in an informed discussion with a teen.
CarolAnnOsborne CarolAnnOsborne 4 years
It may "hardly be new" to some, but they are still doing it and so it is obviously something parents should be talking to their kids about it. Your kid may be the "one" that it could be deadly for.
ChelliForshee ChelliForshee 4 years
SMH at the parents saying it's 'so yesterday' like it's no big deal. Sniffing cinnamon? Who in the....where the heck do people/kids/teens come up with this crap? I'm sorry I can't join in with the others who used to snort candy and kool aid or whatever else...that's just a mess and to think so many parents think it's no big deal?? Wow...
VirginiaMitcham VirginiaMitcham 4 years
I have heard before that kids have done that It looks like any spice like that they would try to swallow without anything to drink would make them sick
TrishaCooper39689 TrishaCooper39689 4 years
Thank you so much for this article. Although this may be old to some, it's not to our family. I will have a talk with my teens and tween about this and any other "challenge." I have never heard of any of this! So thanks again:)
JenniferParry93605 JenniferParry93605 4 years
Thank you for the article! It might be old to some but to 11-13 year old this is still very new!
LoriWood42665 LoriWood42665 4 years
Don't forget the ice challenge and the newest one the eraser challenge. All of them are stupid, but still they are being done.
CarolynPalliardi1368838909 CarolynPalliardi1368838909 4 years
While the cinnamon challenge is so yesterday it is always good to speak to your kids every time something like this pops up again to remind them it is not as safe as they think!
wolfcat87 wolfcat87 4 years
I'm an adult and my husband and I did it. It's not that bad if you know what you are doing. I'm not generally into fads though.
NiinaBiina NiinaBiina 4 years
AND?!?!.... Ughh! @ JessicaV & KelleP How old are you two?? Do you even have children?? I would think that if you did, you would take in account that there are still moms out there who DID NOT already know this was even a trend and if they did, it's good to know/a good reminder that our children are still at risk of trying this, as it still appears to be a popular trend. If you ONLY want to look out for the well-being of you and yours without respecting the fact that these, regardless if "new: or "old" articles could save the life of another unsuspecting mother's child.. Then DON'T read them. You can always go read the "New" yahoo articles and post your insensitive comments on there...
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