Cinnamon Challenge Is the Latest, Dumbest Viral Craze (That Can Also Kill You)

I first heard of the Cinnamon Challenge many years ago when my then-boyfriend was regaling me with some of the more obnoxious hazing routines his fraternity engaged in. Apparently it was a fairly popular activity among him and his friends back in the day, along with spreading toothpaste along an unsuspecting victim's windshield wipers, and presenting someone with a photo of their toothbrush—crammed down someone else's pants. (Ah, college.)

Thanks to YouTube, the Cinnamon Challenge has made quite the resurgence in recent years, and it's become so popular, it seems like everyone's giving it a try for the sake of viral stardom. However, if you're thinking of adding the cinnamon meme to your "I did it" list—next to the photos of your best attempt at planking, leisure diving, or Jolie-ing—let me gently caution you that side effects may include barfing, choking, and A TRIP TO THE HOSPITAL.


The idea of the Cinnamon Challenge is that you're supposed to swallow a spoonful of cinnamon in less than a minute, without washing it down with water. Sounds easy, right? WRONG. It's virtually impossible, whether it's because of the dry nature of the spice, mild allergens in it, or the astringent qualities of the tannin it contains. Basically, it coats your mouth and does unpleasant things to your lungs and causes you to sputter, cough, gag, and spray cinnamon all over the place.

This, of course, makes for amusing video, so
it's all over YouTube lately. There are thousands of videos of hapless choking challenge-takers, like these poor fools:

The downside of the Cinnamon Challenge, aside from a potential employer stumbling onto your shining YouTube moment and deciding that maybe you're not such a great decision-maker after all, is that
it may actually put your life in danger. As the challenge has gone viral, kids have been landing in the hospital from attempting the stunt.

According to a doctor from Providence Hospital,

If you have some fine particles, like cinnamon in your lungs, it may be hard to clear out. Your lungs can kind of collapse on you. There have been several cases reported where kids needed ventilator support because they weren’t able to maintain their airway.

In other words, don't try this at home. Or anywhere else, for that matter.

In fact, I recommend that we all band together to create a hot new YouTube sensation: you film yourself mixing cinnamon and sugar, then sprinkling it on a buttered piece of toast. Then you delete the footage and you turn off the computer and eat your cinnamon toast. EPIC WIN!

Have you heard of the Cinnamon Challenge?

Image via YouTube

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