To get drunk, people are getting creative. But a new form of drinking, known as “smoking” alcohol, has doctors concerned. Whatever happened to taking shots? Any sort of excessive drinking is dangerous, be it via beer bongs or pouring shots into the eye socket. But now some drinkers are taking it even further and “smoking” alcohol. The questionable practice, which has potentially scary consequences, has various permutations.
An individual can pour alcohol over dry ice and inhale it directly or with a straw, or make a DIY vaporizing kit using bike pumps. The alcohol of choice is poured into a bottle, the bottle is corked, and the bicycle pump needle is poked through the top of the cork. Air is pumped into the bottle to vaporize the alcohol, and the user inhales.
In 2004, the U.S. saw a brief emergence of the trend with the availability of the AWOL (Alcohol Without Liquid) device, but the product was quickly banned in the U.S. and lost its following.
When alcohol vapor is inhaled, it goes straight from the lungs to the brain and bloodstream, getting the individual drunk very quickly. Because the alcohol bypasses the stomach and liver, it isn’t metabolized, and the alcohol doesn’t lose any of its potency.
Drinkers feel the effects almost instantly, but the risks are also much higher. People who smoke their alcohol are at a much greater risk of getting alcohol poisoning and potentially overdosing. When people drink too much alcohol, they tend to vomit. Getting sick is one of the ways that prevents an alcohol overdose, but when alcohol circumvents the stomach and liver, the body can’t expel it.
The trend is also picking up in the bar scene, with vaporizing methods like the Vaportini, which is legally sold in all 50 states. The site boasts: “This has the advantage of no calories; no carbs, no impurities and the effects of consuming alcohol are immediately felt, making it easier to responsibly imbibe.”