DENVER -- It’s just a spoonful of cinnamon, but it’s sending local teenagers to the hospital on a regular basis.
The "Cinnamon Challenge" started ten years ago, and dares people to swallow a spoonful of the spice in one minute without taking a drink of water.
Doctors say it is nearly impossible because your salivary glands don’t produce enough saliva to absorb the cinnamon, so they warn against doing it.
But the trend has taken off as tens of thousands of people post video of their attempts on YouTube.
Denver teenager, 15-year-old Andrea Velasquez, tried it six times. She told FOX31 Denver, “We saw some videos on YouTube. We had a sleepover and just did it for one of our little games. So we tried it ... it stung, hurt at first your throat, just all powdery, so we all spit it all up.”
Her mother, Rosie Garcia said, “I had no idea there was such a thing as The Cinnamon Challenge. I didn’t find out my daughter did it until it was too late. I was really worried because Andrea suffers from seizures. I think it’s stupid. I honestly think it’s stupid.”
Andrea was lucky, she never had to go to the emergency room. But other teenagers haven’t been so lucky.
Staff members at Swedish Medical Center in Englewood say they have seen several youngsters who have tried the Cinnamon Challenge over the past few months, one as recently as last week.
Doctor Mark Kozlowski is the Medical Director of the emergency room at Swedish. He told FOX31 Denver, “Cinnamon is a powder. It can be a pretty strong respiratory irritant. Any kind of powder can bring on coughing spasms or trouble breathing and we’re quite worried this is the new fad for kids.“
There are no reports of deaths from the Cinnamon Challenge, but it nearly killed a Michigan girl earlier this month.
Critics say it doesn’t help that several high profile people have taken the challenge.
This includes the latest addition to the Denver Nuggets, JaVale McGee. He told FOX31 Denver during his first press conference, “I wouldn’t recommend that to anyone. Ever.”
Andrea Velasquez agrees. She said, “It looks fun, but it could harm you in many ways and it could take your life, so not to do it.” She said she wanted to beat the challenge. “I wanted to, but not anymore ... not after I figured out it could kill you.”
- Most viewed YouTube videos of the "Cinnamon Challenge"