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Cinnamon Challenge Vs Condom Challenge: Doctors Issue Warning Against Dangerous Trends [Video]

Cinnamon Challenge Vs Condom Challenge: Doctors Issue Warning Against Dangerous Trends [Video]


The Cinnamon Challenge is a popular dare game that involves attempting to swallow a tablespoon of cinnamon without vomiting or inhaling the powder. Since the early 2000s, the game has become well known for its extreme difficulty and thousands of videos with people attempting the challenge have been uploaded onto YouTube.



While the challenge became a viral phenomenon on YouTube, its origin precedes the history of the video-sharing community. The earliest known attempt at the game can be traced back to The Cinnamon Challenge 2001, which was hosted by Michael Buffington and played by Erik Goodlad. The result was documented and posted as a blog article on Buffington’s blog. The story was picked up by Jason Kottke on December 22nd, 2001.[1]




The earliest YouTube version was uploaded on April 2nd, 2006 in a video titled “Pipe Attempts the Cinnamon Challenge.” Throughout the rest of 2006, several videos depicting similar attempts were posted on the site.





Discussions and Q&A threads regarding the subject have been commonly seen on Yahoo Answers[3][4][5] and the Wikipedia article on “Cinnamon”[6] contains a subsection on the phenomenon. There are several Facebook fan pages, including the promotional page for[8] which has over 5,500 “likes”.[7] The Urban Dictionary[9] has a definition entry for the Cinnamon Challenge created on May 21st, 2008.


The phenomenon saw its largest resurgent yet in late 2011 when Anna Diaz recorded a video of herself attempting the challenge, which was re-uploaded via YouTube on December 14th, 2011. The video received over 3.9 million views in the first two months of upload and was covered by numerous Internet culture blogs and imitated by other YouTubers in the following weeks.





On January 31st, 2012, The New Haven Register[10] reported that Clinton Avenue School’s principal Carmen Ana Rodriguez was put on leave after she failed to stop or reprimand her students taking the challenge during lunch hours. However, the controversy surrounding the “Cinnamon Challenge” only fueled the online interest and it was reported by several news programs as the newest teen fad that should be advised against by the parents.


Meanwhile in Pennsylvania, Pottstown School District declared a ban on students wearing “open top boots” on the grounds that they can be used to smuggle various contrabands, including cinnamon for consumption. According to the local newspaper The Mercury[11], the school official responded that the decision came in late January 2012, after three confirmed incidents involving the challenge were reported in recent weeks.


Health Risks Study


On April 22nd, 2013, the results of a study by University of Miami professor Dr. Steven Lipshultz were published in the monthly medical journal Pediatrics,[12] which investigated various health risks associated with the cinnamon challenge. The report revealed that as cinnamon challenge videos increased in popularity on YouTube, calls to poison control centers and emergency room visits saw a significant increase in frequency as well. In 2011, the US American Association of Poison Control Centers received only 51 cinnamon challenge-related calls, while in 2012, the number jumped to 178 calls with 30 incidents requiring medical attention. In experiments with rats, Lipshultz found that the substance cellulose contained within cinnamon powder can induce pulmonary fibrosis, a scarring of the lungs which causes symptoms similar to emphysema. On the day of its publication, the findings were reported on by several news sites, including the Chicago Tribune,[16] The New York Times,[13] The Daily Dot[14] and NBC.[15]




The Condom Challenge is a dare game that involves inserting a condom into one’s nostril and snorting it back through the throat to be coughed out of the mouth. The game gained attention in April 2013 following the viral takeoff of a YouTube video uploaded by teenager Amber-Lynn Strong.


On May 3rd, 2006, Break user tommydyhr uploaded a video titled “Condom Sucking From Nose to Mouth,” in which a young man snorts a condom through his nose and extracts it out of his mouth (shown below, left). In the next seven years, the video received upwards of 73,500 views and 130 comments. In the following years, several other condom snorting videos were subsequently uploaded to YouTube, but the phrase “condom challenge” was not coined until May 23rd, 2012, when YouTuber Isaac Mathers uploaded a video performing the same stunt titled “Condom Challenge” (shown below, right). Within one year, the video received over 9,300 views and 25 comments.


On April 3rd, 2013, the WorldStarTube YouTube channel uploaded a video featuring two girls snorting condoms (shown below, left), which received over 180,000 views and 480 comments in the first two weeks. On April 9th, YouTuber P0tatoPlanet uploaded a video of herself snorting a condom through her nasal passage (shown below, right), garnering more than 150,000 views and 1,180 comments in the following eight days.

That same month, teenager Amber-Lynn Strong uploaded a video of herself performing the challenge (shown below). On April 13th, Redditor redpanda252 submitted the video to the /r/videos[3] subreddit, where it received over 2,800 up votes and 630 comments in the first 72 hours. On April 15th, Amber-Lynn Strong’s video was highlighted on The Huffington Post,[1] Gawker[2] and BuzzFeed.[6] After gaining upwards of 2.2 million views, the video was subsequently removed from YouTube for violating the site’s terms of service.



On the following day, the Internet humor blog Break[5] posted an article about the YouTube trend, citing YouTuber Isaac Mathers’ video as the first known use of the term “condom challenge.” Also on April 16th, notable condom challenge videos were highlighted on the Internet news blog UpRoxx.[7]

Don’t take the cinnamon challenge. That’s the advice from doctors in a new report about a dangerous prank depicted in popular YouTube videos but which has led to hospitalizations and a surge in calls to U.S. poison centers.

The fad involves daring someone to swallow a spoonful of ground cinnamon in 60 seconds without water. But the spice is caustic, and trying to gulp it down can cause choking, throat irritation, breathing trouble and even collapsed lungs, the report said.

Published online Monday in Pediatrics, the report said at least 30 teens nationwide needed medical attention after taking the challenge last year.

The number of poison control center calls about teens doing the prank “has increased dramatically,” from 51 in 2011 to 222 last year, according to the American Association of Poison Control Centers.

“People with asthma or other respiratory conditions are at greater risk of having this result in shortness of breath and trouble breathing,” according to an alert posted on the association’s website.

Thousands of YouTube videos depict kids attempting the challenge, resulting in an “orange burst of dragon breath” spewing out of their mouths and sometimes hysterical laughter from friends watching the stunt, said report co-author Dr. Steven E. Lipshultz, a pediatrics professor at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.

Cinnamon is made from tree bark and contains cellulose fibers that don’t easily break down. Animal research suggests that when cinnamon gets into the lungs, it can cause scarring, Lipshultz said.

Dr. Stephen Pont, a spokesman for the American Academy of Pediatrics and an Austin, Texas pediatrician, said the report is “a call to arms to parents and doctors to be aware of things like the cinnamon challenge” and to pay attention to what their kids are viewing online.

An Ypsilanti, Mich., teen who was hospitalized for a collapsed lung after trying the cinnamon challenge heartily supports the new advice and started her own website – _ telling teens to “just say no” to the fad.

Dejah Reed, 16, said she took the challenge four times – the final time was in February last year with a friend who didn’t want to try it alone.

“I was laughing very hard and I coughed it out and I inhaled it into my lungs,” she said. “I couldn’t breathe.”

Her father, Fred Reed, said he arrived home soon after to find Dejah “a pale bluish color. It was very terrifying. I threw her over my shoulder” and drove to a nearby emergency room.

Dejah was hospitalized for four days and went home with an inhaler and said she still has to use it when she gets short of breath from running or talking too fast. Her dad said she’d never had asthma or breathing problems before.

Dejah said she’d read about the challenge on Facebook and other social networking sites and “thought it would be cool” to try.

Now she knows “it’s not cool and it’s dangerous.”


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