Drug and alcohol quickening devices are in no short supply, and their contribution to addiction and the rehab it ultimately requires is growing more and more evident. Available across the Internet and (no longer limited to head shops) in a number of stores, these pipes, funnels, flasks, vaporizers, and other such novelties are no more than a click or a short drive away. The latest in this long string of contraptions intended to get you higher faster is the Vaportini. Catchy, we know, but the folksiness behind its namesake doesn’t fully impress the potential dangers associated with its use.

The Vaportini is the newest incarnation of the “Alcohol without Liquid device (AWOL) which mechanically vaporizes alcohol shots over the course of 20 minutes and is banned in 22 states.” Developed in Chicago by Julie Palmer (owner and proprietor of Red Kiva bar) in 2009, the Vaportini, while not trying to belie its effects and explicitly warning that blood alcohol content (BAC) will be affected by its use, does its best to entice buyers with the promise of “a revolutionary new way of consuming alcohol,” even going so far as offering a 33% discount when purchasing ten or more.

Quickened Alcohol Consumption and How it Affects You

The Vaportini is able to hasten alcohol consumption in a simple manner. A candle sits inside of a cup atop which a glass bowl is placed. Alcohol is poured into the bowl and allowed to vaporize slowly over the course of a few minutes after which the resulting alcoholic vapor is inhaled through a straw. The vapor bypasses the stomach – circumventing any food that may “soften the blow” and natural protective impulses like vomiting – and enters the bloodstream instantly by way of the lungs. Doing so allows it to quickly intoxicate a user and may increase the likelihood of abuse because of the speed with which it is consumed. Inhaling alcohol rather than drinking is also believed to increase the addictiveness of alcohol since barriers between it and the brain are eliminated.

Devices such as the Vaportini that lend themselves to drug and alcohol abuse should prompt concern in parents, particularly when considering the binge-drinking culture of many college-age students. We advise discretion prior to considering the use of such a device and encourage you to maintain a watchful eye if you feel that a loved one may be at risk of alcohol abuse and alcoholism. Inhaling alcoholic vapors carries with it the risks of traditional drinking and should be viewed under the same cautious and probing light.