Docs say cinnamon challenge risky

Mary Poppins said a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down.

But what about a spoonful of cinnamon?

That, apparently, helps create coughing fits, “dragon breath” and a web sensation.

YouTube and Facebook have been flooded with thousands of videos of people – professional athletes and teenagers, adults and politicians – taking the cinnamon challenge.

According to, taking the challenge is “quite simple.”

Take 1 teaspoon of cinnamon and try to swallow it within 60 seconds without drinking anything.

That’s it.

But this is what typically happens when people try it, according to the site:

“When people try to do it, the first symptom is the inhalation of the cinnamon which is almost immediately followed by ‘dragon breath’ where the user exhales a big puff of cinnamon.”

Sounds fun, huh?

I watched this Good Morning America segment on the cinnamon challenge. The segment included clips of people trying it, and, I admit, I laughed as people blew puffs of cinnamon dust out of their mouths.

But then I read about the risks of the cinnamon challenge and it lost its appeal.

The spice doesn’t break down very quickly and get stuck in the throat, causing gagging and even puking. The cinnamon itself poses a choking hazard and comes with the risk of inhaling the dust.

The cinnamon can also cause inflammation of the lungs and prevent air from reaching the lungs. The challenge has landed people in the hospital and attached to ventilators.

And, especially for people with asthma, the particles can potentially cause long-term lung damage.

I think I’ll stick to using cinnamon for baking.

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