Smoking Alcohol: The Dangerous Way People Are Getting Drunk

  • Share
  • Read Later
Tony Tremblay / Getty Images

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.

(MORE: If Drinking Starts at Puberty, It’s More Likely to Lead to Alcohol Problems)

Nearly a decade later, clinicians are seeing evidence that the practice is gaining some traction — and not just among college kids and adolescent risk takers. It’s popular among people who want to lose weight and don’t want the calories that come from consuming alcohol. “People think it is a great way to get the effects of alcohol without gaining the weight because alcohol has an enormous amount of empty calories. You can’t be ingesting a lot of alcohol if you’re on a diet and want to lose weight,” says Dr. Deni Carise, the deputy chief clinical officer at CRC Health Group, a treatment- and educational-program provider for individuals struggling with behavioral issues, chemical dependency and eating disorders. “I think adolescents are also particularly susceptible to this because it is novel and exciting.”

In Fox’s KCTV-5 coverage of the trend, a North Texas man, Broderic Allen, says he stopped drinking to lose 80 lb. (36 kg) and started smoking alcohol to avoid calories:

(MORE: Brain Scans Can Predict Which Alcoholics Are Most Likely to Relapse)

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.

It’s also much harder to know just how much alcohol you’re consuming in one sitting if you’re not stringently measuring. If a cup of alcohol is poured into a bottle and then vaporized, the drinker cannot tell if they are inhaling a few sips or the whole cup, since the liquid remains in the bottle.

“It’s also terrible for your lungs and nasal passages,” says Carise. “Your lungs are not meant to inhale something that can turn back into a liquid. When you think of liquid in the lungs, you think of drowning.”

(MORE: Safety Board Recommends Defining Legally Drunk With Lower Blood-Alcohol Level)

The prevalence of the trend is unclear, since there are no current studies tracking the cases, says Carise. But like other drinking fads, YouTube videos of drinkers inhaling and smoking alcohol have increasingly popped up online.

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.”

Fortunately, these beverages are usually consumed in a wide glass, so the effect is not as concentrated, says Carise. Still, she finds the concept disturbing. “It is amazing what our culture will do to get drunk,” she says.

86 comments
AlexisSaxon
AlexisSaxon

Yeah smoke that poison . Why not smoke weed? Safer and doesn't turn you into an idiot(not as much as alchohol lol)

makki10
makki10

lame..the whole thing is the great taste and continuing to taste until you cant taste cuz youre in a coma! shout out to crown royal! lmao..

jeiluifang
jeiluifang

“It’s also terrible for your lungs and nasal passages,” says Carise. “Your lungs are not meant to inhale something that can turn back into a liquid. When you think of liquid in the lungs, you think of drowning." 

Ridiculous, your lungs inhale and exhale water all the time. A popular treatment for helping with congestion is to breath in steam from a pot of boiling water. 

呵呵
呵呵

Just now i saw news in usatoday. 2 young men in southern Russia drunk and strated an argue about the philospher Immanuel Kant . The an air gun enter the arguement. NUTS.

joeybest
joeybest

someday we are going to regret this

KellyJLeighton
KellyJLeighton

Hello.  Devils Advocate here.  If for only a moment, we could look at the other options before we decide which is best besides lining up with your own philosophies.  The dry ice is an ingredient in some frozen desserts made by Chefs that are creative.  So ingesting it is not a threat to health used in moderation and with much intenton on being able to consume LESS,  NOT FEED a rage.  We all have choices.  Why should someones lack be a burden unto the ones who know their limits and abide by it.  We do exist.  People drink what they are going to drink no matter how its done.  I see this as more of a "FUN" way to "drink"...its so sureal.  I mean think about it... how more mysterios looking could that possibly be?  Bend the arm with smoking drink in tote, to only "sip" the mist rising from this concoction.  I like it.  I think this one will stick.

~The Random Gourmet

DrPotatohead
DrPotatohead

Those running our government have so little to do that they can't help dictate what we should and should not be doing instead of say figuring out how to keep cities safe or ensure everybody gets enough food to eat.

cantiloper
cantiloper

2 The sheer scientific ignorance displayed in this article (or its sources) is incredible.  "If a cup of alcohol is poured into a bottle and then vaporized, the drinker cannot tell if they are inhaling a few sips or the whole cup, since the liquid remains in the bottle."  


Excuse me, but if the entire cup REMAINS in the bottle, then NOTHING has been consumed.  Or are we simply going to ignore the laws of conservation of energy and matter?  Sheeesh.


“Your lungs are not meant to inhale something that can turn back into a liquid."  Golly gee gumdrops Molly!  I guess I better skip taking those showers and breathing all that steam and those water droplets in the future!  


Sigh. And these are the same folks mounting a worldwide campaign to try to convince everyone that breathing in even a millionth of the smoke that a smoker regularly does is "dangerous" and needs to be banned.   Sad.


MJM


kuei12
kuei12

This makes about as much sense as injecting your lunch directly into your rectum so you don't gain weight.

kuei12
kuei12

I guess we finally have the answer: It's less filling and has no taste.

Hermesacat
Hermesacat

Not enjoying the effects of alcohol anymore, I'd favour opium or heroin to smoke, & would chase the dragon before I'd inhale fumes of the demon alcohol! Alcohol  kills far more people yearly via accidents, willful violence, & deadly diseases,  than all illicit drugs combined could ever do. Our most damaging & deadly popular drugs are all legal ones. The worst so-called drug problems are in fact prohibition problems. Drug gang violence, property crime by addicts forced to pay sky-high prices for substances dirt cheap to produce, & heightened OD risk from uncertainty of dosage of  black market drugs - are all direct outcomes of  ill-conceived, counterproductive prohibition laws, not drugs themselves. If deadly booze & tobacco  are deemed legal, so should be all the much less deadly popular illicit drugs we hypocritically  & unjustly criminalize.

ChikuMisra
ChikuMisra

Just inject the vodka directly into your veins, a la heroin. Darwinianism at its best.

ChikuMisra
ChikuMisra

I hope that chick made it home safe. A pretty girl like her in the wrong part of town is a bad combination.

valentine.godoflove
valentine.godoflove

   I D I O T S   !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

valentine, comedian

HermesEmphasis
HermesEmphasis

Suicide is now legalized in some countries, this could be a good start.

Piacevole
Piacevole

This sounds about as stupid as the "cinnamon challenge."  How to really screw up your physiology for a little buzz.

eileendoherty
eileendoherty

People who smoke and who drink and smoke...need to go to a VA hospital, a nursing home, a "county" hospital and visit the people who are there due to cancer of the lungs, throat, mouth, etc all caused by these dangerous habits.  We buried a friend last week, 64 years old, has had stage 4 cancer for the last 4 years, multiple operations, many trips to the emergency room, months and months in a less than pretty nursing home...as a result of 40 plus years of sitting on a bar stool every evening smoking (until he was forced to go outside to smoke) and drinking!  My brother-in-law and his brother both died of the same diseases...from the exact same cause...smoking and drinking are Toxic!!!

We don't need an endless parade of more dangerous ways to hurt our bodies. 

MarkBDavison
MarkBDavison

 If you are that retarded to smoke booze or stick it up you ass in order to get drunk you have some real issues and should not be drinking in the first place!

KevinCasey
KevinCasey

KCTV-5 is a CBS network station NOT FOX...

a_pink_poodle
a_pink_poodle

Ok, now I know people are just making this garbage up. I was barely with Time with alcohol enemas but now I know at this point they're just making crap up to scare people. What next? Grinding marijuana into powder and dusting it in your eyes?

PatrickA.Barrett
PatrickA.Barrett

Just adding vapo alcohol to ethyl chloride and 151 bong hits on the list of things that can cause instantaneous but short-lived blackouts.  Hangovers come in a few hours instead of the next day for those wondering.

fregattenkapitan1
fregattenkapitan1

Despite the cult of "education" people are still going to do a lot of stupid, harmful things, no matter how many times they're told they are stupid for doing so.  We just need to educate people on this simple fact. 

TonyXL
TonyXL

Now the number of people doing this will double.

JasmineAdamson
JasmineAdamson

I think we have a laws of physics problem here... how does pressurizing a bottle cause MORE vapor?

And, this is nothing new. Putting a little Southern Comfort in the bong has been done for at least 30 years, that I can remember :)

epenguin
epenguin

Ill smoke weed thank you.  Why would anyone smoke alcohol?  Funny how man seeks a new level of stupidity on a daily basis.

michaelpk85
michaelpk85

i love how this article gives you directions on how to make one of these dangerous contraptions 

Gozer
Gozer

I guess some people don't like to TASTE a fine scotch or beer anymore.

Disco_House
Disco_House

Stupid is as stupid does.  Let them kill themselves, they are doing us a favor.

MiknJoy
MiknJoy

One thing I heard - which I understand is even worse than getting hammered on vapor is directly putting alcohol (whatever your drink of choice is) directly into the rectum.  The alcohol is absorbed so quickly and completely into the bloodstream without any benefit of your liver for processing the alcohol - you die of alcohol poisoning - and quickly.

mechareaper
mechareaper

According to the website for the device that's banned in America it takes an hour to consume 35mL....are you kidding me? How is drinking a shot over the course of an entire hour dangerous?!?!?! You feel the effects immediately? If that's the rate of consumption, it would take me like 4 hours to feel anything even if it was inhaled.

marktwain54321
marktwain54321

Who is paying for the doctor's report/testimony?We all know there are “two sides to every coin.”Just like the wealthy pharmaceutical companies lobby against marijuana, because they would lose money towards the sale of their number one money maker - pain medication.I strongly feel many companies that manufacturer alcoholic beverages would dislike this behavior, because less alcoholic beverages are being consumed.

 An excess of many things can kill us.I feel research is needed to develop ways to perhaps make this technique safe.After all, majority of Americans are over-weight, which is another sad subject.

sportsjunkie29
sportsjunkie29

Plus, no calories.  Are hangovers non-existent or minimal compared to drinking?

flipperz9999
flipperz9999

Hey, if you want to play with stuff like this and it ends up killing you, that is just the gene pool weeding itself.....

blaze5222
blaze5222

@KellyJLeighton Let's talk about ingesting dry ice.... which will knock you out if you breathe it.....Tell me again how it is safe Kelly?


jimmycrackcorn
jimmycrackcorn

@cantiloper just one bicycle trip away from logic...not you,the silly-ninnies who cannot "breathe" anything without repercussion...

RemikWac
RemikWac

@cantiloper

to be honest I think alcohol is in some part water which has higher boiling point then alcohol so when alcohol vapores the water stays in the cup - that means you can't exacly say what was the intake of the alcohol... but i can be wrong. best regards 

AustinP76
AustinP76

@Hermesacat  Correlation does not equal causation. The logic that because alcohol kills far more people yearly, it is more dangerous than, say, heroin, is a very dangerous fallacy. How many more people abuse/use alcohol than heroin? Of course this leads to more deaths. If you have data that shows a larger percent of alcohol users are harmed by their drug of choice than heroin users, please point me towards that data. Otherwise, let it be known that "Our most damaging & deadly popular drugs are all legal ones" is a dangerously false statement.

EricPorter
EricPorter

@Hermesacat Well They TRIED to ban it but the power of the people prevailed as it always would if people were truly connected, and nothing unites people better and worse than alcohol.

The real problem here is the self control and social disconnection of the human race.

maybe there is just too many people idk

 


kuei12
kuei12

@ChikuMisra ...Funny, In the photo set included with the Fleetwood Mac "Tusk" album, there is a photo of Mick Fleetwood doing exactly that.

JimMcDowell
JimMcDowell

@mechareaper  You're comment is precisely why its dangerous. People will naturally assume that tolerance levels are equatable if inhalation as it is ingestion. With inhalation, the alcohol is entering blood stream directly, and thus requires far less alcohol to get you intoxicated.