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The online cinnamon scare

health-and-fitness Updated: Mar 22, 2012 00:14 IST

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An online challenge that dares people to swallow a spoonful of cinnamon has gone viral, and has prompted medical experts to issue health warnings against it, as it can pose as a choking hazard.

The stunt isn’t entirely new, but in recent months, the Cinnamon Challenge has experienced an online revival, with a steady wave of new videos being uploaded on YouTube, that capture the physical pain of trying to swallow the potent spice.

The reactions among the challengers are invariably the same — once they put the spoonful of cinnamon in their mouths, the bravado disappears, as the participants cough and sputter out a cloud of terracotta smoke.

Some high profile challengers include the governor of Illinois, US, and two NBA players — Nick Young and JaVale McGee.The internet stunt also hit headlines recently, whena teenager in the American state of Michigan became hospitalised, following a failed attempt.

The incident prompted school officials and health experts to issue a warning which claimed that excessive cinnamon can lead to inflammation of the lungs, can trigger an asthmatic reaction and also lead to suffocation.

Meanwhile, among the 33,000 Cinnamon Challenge videos on YouTube, the most popular involves an American woman who attempts to swallow a soup ladle full of the spice. ‘GloZell’s’ outrageous attempt, uploaded in January, has attracted more than 10 million hits. is a dedicated website for the spicy antic, but keeps away from endorsing the cinnamon challengers, and advises visitors to just bear witness to the phenomenon instead.

“There are over 30,000 Cinnamon Challenge videos on YouTube. Below are some of the more popular ones, so watch movies of people, already feeling the pain,” claims the website, once you are logged in.