07 Aug 2013
August 7, 2013

Smoking Alcohol: A Dangerous New Trend

That title is not a typo: people really are smoking alcohol. Alcohol abuse has entered into a new, bizarre realm.

How Smoking Alcohol Works

The term “smoking” is a bit of a misnomer, as there is no actual smoke involved. Rather, alcohol vapor is produced through pressurization and then inhaled. All a person needs is a simple bicycle pump, a cork, a plastic bottle and alcohol – or even just dry ice.

There are dozens of disturbing videos on YouTube that depict young adults going through the process, step by step. First, alcohol is poured into a plastic container, typically a one or two-liter soda bottle. Second, the bottle is corked. Third, a needle–such as one that is used to inflate a basketball–is connected to an air pump and shoved through the cork. Finally, air is pumped into the bottle, which pressurizes the contents, creating alcohol vapor. The cork is removed, and the vapor is inhaled for effect.

Voilà, a vaportini has been created, along with many dangers of alcohol abuse that exceed normal drinking.

Effects of Inhaling Alcohol Vapors

Alcohol flows into several different parts of the body when it is consumed as a liquid. While there is no truly healthy way to consume alcohol, moderate drinking allows the body to process it by flowing into the stomach where it enters the bloodstream. From there, alcohol is spread throughout the body, including the brain. The liquid makes its way into the small intestine, eventually filtering it through the liver.

All of these internal avenues dilute the effects, spreading them out over many different areas. As a vapor, the road is very different. When inhaling alcohol vapor, the alcohol bypasses the stomach and liver and goes straight to the brain, forgoing the metabolization process. Therefore, the alcohol doesn’t lose any of its potency.

Origin of Inhaling Alcohol

For those who have never heard of this new, alarming trend, there is always the question of “Why?” Aside from the novelty and the immediate intoxicating effects, some young adults think that by inhaling vapor, they can bypass the calories that come with drinking.

A recent article from the New York Daily News highlighted a man who lost 80 pounds by quitting drinking, but couldn’t give up the addictive euphoria from alcohol use. He resorted to pouring alcohol over dry ice, an alternate method for smoking alcohol. In truth, this process only slightly reduces the caloric intake, and introduces many other dangers, which far outweigh any perceived benefit.

The body can only handle so much alcohol at once. If a person inhales alcohol several times within an hour or so, that’s the equivalent of doing double-digit shots of hard liquor in the same amount of time.

“The alcohol goes into your bloodstream and straight to your brain,” says Jennifer Garrison, a licensed practical nurse (LPN) at Cornerstone Recovery Center. “When you inhale alcohol vapors it’s hard to tell how much you are actually consuming, so it’s much easier to overdose.”

When a new, more powerful way to get an intoxicant into the brain becomes prevalent, the potential for addiction increases along with it. The staff at Cornerstone is well aware of this trend and how to treat it.

Get Alcohol Addiction Treatment Today

Each patient is treated on a case-by-case basis, and because the effects of smoking alcohol go straight to the brain, people suffering from the adverse effects of this new trend have different needs than long-term alcoholics. Cornerstone works directly with families of addicts as well as mental health professionals to create a tailored rehabilitation program to the individual.

If you or someone you know is addicted to drugs or alcohol, please do not hesitate to seek an addiction treatment center. Located in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, Cornerstone treats patients from South Florida and parts of the Northeastern United States. For more information about our services, call 954-271-2846 or contact us online.