The cinnamon challenge

The cinnamon challenge involves swallowing a tablespoonful of ground cinnamon in 60 s without drinking anything.[1] Cinnamon is a caustic powder, and ingestion induces severe gagging. Inhalation in rats causes granulomatous pulmonary inflammation. Video clips of adolescents watching someone cough and choke as they attempt the cinnamon challenge are an Internet sensation, with over 50 000 YouTube clips posted, one of which has been viewed over 19 million times. Most recover, but US poison centres and emergency departments have been kept busy, and there have been a number of hospitalisations for pulmonary complications. Adolescents show remarkable inventiveness when it comes to risk-taking activities[2] but should be encouraged to find other, more constructive ways of putting spice into their lives.


Reviewer: David Isaacs,