There have been plenty of drinking trends over the year including beer bongs, eye shots and shotgunning drinks but a new trend called smoking alcohol has many doctors worried.
So what is smoking alcohol? When someone smokes alcohol, they take a plastic bottle, a cork, a bicycle pump and some alcohol. The alcohol is poured into the plastic bottle, the cork is inserted into the top of the plastic bottle and then the needle of the pump is pushed through the cork. Once this is done, someone need only pump up the pressure in the plastic bottle, then quickly pull the plug out of the top.
Some of the liquid alcohol will instantly vaporise creating a cloud of alcoholic mist inside the bottle. This is then inhaled.
The reason people go to all this trouble simply to drink is down to how the alcohol enters the bloodstream. In normal drinking, the alcohol is metabolised by the stomach and liver. This makes the alcohol marginally less potent. When alcohol is smoked, it enters the bloodstream directly through the lungs and arrives unfiltered at the brain. This makes smoked alcohol far more potent than alcohol which has been ingested.
The other reason smoking alcohol is becoming more popular is because it bypasses having to drink high calorie alcoholic beverages. Since the alcohol is simply being breathed in, no calories are ingested.
This makes smoking alcohol sound like a much healthier and more effective method of drinking, but in reality, it has serious health risks.
By smoking alcohol people are inhaling an unknown amount of unprocessed alcohol. That means you have no idea how drunk you are about to get, when you should stop or how to know how much you have already had.
Worse still, because the alcohol is absorbed by the lungs, there is no effective way for the body to protect itself from alcohol poisoning. If someone is drinking normally, their body can expel alcohol by vomiting.
This also means that pumping someone’s stomach, which is often used by hospitals to treat alcohol poisoning, is completely ineffective.
Another problem with smoking alcohol is the fact that the person is inhaling a vapour. Once this vapour returns to normal pressure and temperature in the lungs, it reverts to a liquid. In essence, a person is adding a small amount of liquid to their lungs with each hit. Anyone who has ever breathed in a bit of water in a pool knows how good that feels.
“It’s also terrible for your lungs and nasal passages,” said Dr. Deni Carise, the deputy chief clinical officer at CRC Health Group. “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.”
There is also some question as to the effects alcohol will have on the lungs if someone were to smoke alcohol over the long term.
While more testing is needed, doctors are strongly recommending people avoid this method of consumption due to its inherently risky nature.